Cattle entries up 20pc as Tullamore show defies the beef gloom
Up to 60,000 rural and urban dwellers alike are expected to attend the country's premier livestock show in Tullamore today.
From lush coated Limousins to shining Simmental cattle, the livestock categories are the star attraction for farmers at the show held on the 250-acre Butterfield Estate.
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Commercial cattle entries are up 20pc this year as hundreds of animals of all breeds will be showcased by their owners.
Highlights in the dairy section this year include four championships for the Jersey, Shorthorn and Holstein Friesian breeds.
Young breeders will have the opportunity to compete in six showmanship classes. The pedigree cattle section will have 200 classes across 13 breeds.
This section is the National Show for the Limousin, Charolais, Hereford and Simmental Societies.
The commercial cattle section will operate in two rings to facilitate 28 classes, carrying a prize fund of almost €20,000.
Almost every sheep breed imaginable will be showing in Butterfield Estate this Sunday, from Suffolks and Texels to Vendéen and Zwartables.
The sheep section will have 14 breeds involved, in addition to the young handler competition. The classes for the Lleyn breed will feature as their All-Ireland competition this year.
The National Fleece Show for Alpacas will be one of the more quirky events on offer at the show.
In the horses categories there will be a full line-up of competitive categories such as Irish Draft, Connemara, Clydesdale, Working Hunters, Non-Thoroughbred Young Stock, Mare & Foal plus Miniature Horses in Hand.
The highlight of the day for equine lovers will be the Hunt Chase which has traditionally been held at the RDS Horse Show.
Bright sparks showcase 'agventions'
Farmers with an inventive streak will be showcasing their fascinating ideas and projects at the Tullamore Show's National Inventions Competition.
The contest is sponsored by the Farming Independent as well as WR Shaw and Glenngorey Pumps.
Previous winning ideas have solved common problems on farms and have had strong safety focuses.
Last year, first place in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry section went to Seamus Hession of Connacht Agri for his brilliant solar-powered feeder invention.
Meanwhile, the winner of the second annual Herdwatch Agventions competition in association with the Tullamore Show has been announced as Kilkenny man Jack Hennessy.
The 21-year-old who farms sucklers and sheep on his family holding in Ballyfoyle created a removable bucket grab which can be attached to any tractor and save farmers money.
"This is a grab that can be easily attached and removed from a general-purpose bucket,"says Jack.
"This way the farmer can avoid buying an expensive bucket grab. It also makes the bucket much more versatile around the yard."
Jack received a cash prize of €250 and is entered in the Tullamore Show National Inventions competition.
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