Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Excitement mounts for beef producers on eve of Winter Fair

The Commercial Cattle Exhibitors' Society returns to Cillin Hill, Kilkenny, this weekend for the 14th National Winter Fair.

This annual event is now firmly established as one of the major livestock events of the year for the Irish beef industry and attracts beef producers from all over the country and overseas.

Judging starts on the Sunday morning at 11am, with 29 classes and a prize fund of more than €17,000 available.

Growing on the success of last year's event, there will be six breed championships and one calf championship on offer, with classes for all weights and ages of cattle.

One aspect that the committee is actively involved in is the ever-growing interest in Young Handler classes. There will be three handler classes on offer, with all entrants receiving a special trophy and prize money.

The Winter Fair has thrown up some exceptional prices, especially for weanlings.

With potential show cattle for the following summer making up to €10,000, many of the cattle on show have been bought for the home and foreign show rings.

For the senior cattle, the Winter Fair is effectively a shopping window for many beef factories and producers for the lucrative Christmas market, with €2/kg being freely available down through the years for the prime E-grade cattle.

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The sale begins at 11am on Monday, with a packed ringside expected.

A charity auction of valuable semen, embryos, farm products and other agri-based products will take place half way through the sale. A percentage from this auction will go to this year's chosen charity, Donegal Hospice.

On Sunday night, the society hosts its annual dinner dance in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny.

This is regarded by many as one of the premier social events of the year for cattle enthusiasts, with all 300 tickets selling out last year.

Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis from Yvonne on 086 358 0077 or Joe on 087 050 5784.

Irish Independent