NSA Sheep NI 2015
Date: 6th July 2015
A stormy, blustery start to Monday meant NSA Sheep Northern Ireland at Ballymena Livestock Mart, County Antrim awoke slowly – but by mid-morning good numbers of sheep farmers were coming through the gate.
“Ballymena Livestock Market turned into a sheep exhibition of excellence, with crowds flocking to view and learn,” said Event Organiser Edward Adamson. “NSA Northern Ireland Region was delighted with the support from sponsors, trade, sheep breeds, visitors, Ballymena Market, Cafre hosting a farm visit to their Glenwherry Hill Farm, and all who helped in any way. It was a really busy day with tremendous support from everybody within the sheep industry.”
The farm tour to Glenwherry proved particularly popular, with more than 200 people bussed out to the site, where they were met by Cafre staff to explain the experimental work being done there. Back at the mart, seminars were enthusiastically attended on the subjects of anthelmintic resistance, designing handling systems for stress free operation (for sheep and shepherd), and making the most of grazed grass.
World famous chef Sean Owens demonstrated and tickled the taste buds with a selection of lamb dishes, while the local Women’s Institute displayed the results of their labours at the other end of the marquee.
Later in the afternoon the sheepdog sale was a huge draw and saw more than 50 lots come forward. Michael McAllister of Glenariffe topped the Norbrook/Closamectin-sponsored sale at 1,200gns, followed by Gordon Montgomery, Broughshane, who received 1,100gns. Several other dogs sold between 850-1,000gns.
The Young Shepherd of the Year competition, sponsored this year by the First Trust Bank, involved a series of five sections including shearing, lamb selection, quad bike handling, veterinary knowledge and a written test. The top two young shepherds – Russell Smyth of Coleraine and Iain Wilson of Islandmagee – will now represent Northern Ireland at national and European level for the next two years. Doing very well in the hotly contested competition with much older entrants, Ian Wilson was also the highest placed under 18-year-old.
YFCU members helped out with the stockjudging competition, where the McFadzean family travelled from Scotland to dominate proceedings. Aileen won the senior section and Malcolm the juniors. The British Wool Marketing Board was in charge of the fleece competition, where local grader Alan placed a long wool fleece from the McCormick Brothers of Cushendun in first place.
Colin MacDonald, Royal Ulster Agricultural Society Chief Executive, judged the trade stands, offering prizes to Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Association, Cafre and Cormac Engineering for best breed society, indoor and outdoor stand respectively.
Visitors to the event had the chance to win a brand new pair of Dunlop wellies, simply by registering for the free prize draw at the NSA stand. The winner pulled out of the hat at the end of the day was John Orr, an NSA members from Downpatrick running 300 ewes.
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, was in high praise of the event: “With nearly 100 trade stands and plenty of catching up to do with colleagues, the event made a busy and useful day for everyone involved. A special thanks, as with all NSA events, to the organisers and helpers who work so hard coming up to the event and on the day, and for welcoming everyone so warmly.”
In all, a very busy and enjoyable day in a livestock market that, unbelievably, was back selling cattle the next morning.
- Young Shepherd of the Year: 1, Russell Smyth, Coleraine; 2, Iain Wilson, Islandmagee; 3, Stephen Rainey, Cairncastle. Best under 18, Iain Wilson.
- Stockjudging: Over 25s: 1, Aileen McFadzean, Scotland; 2, Dale Orr, Downpatrick; 3, Robert Cromie.Under 25s: 1, Malcolm McFadzean, Scotland; 2, Sarah Davidson, Kells; 3, Samuel Bruce, Bellaghy.
- Fleeces: Coloured: 1, Freda Magill, Rathfriland. Short wool: 1, Lewis Morrow, Whitehead; 2, John Hawthorne, Limavady; 3, Lewis Morrow, Whitehead. Long wool: 1, McCormick Bros, Cushendun (also overall champion); 2, Hugo Warden, Newtownards; 3, Freda Magill, Rathfriland.
- Breed society stands: 1, Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Association; 2, Blackface Sheep Breeders Association; 3, Border Leicester Sheep Breeders Society.
- Indoor stands: 1, Cafre; 2, Elanco/Novartis; 3, British Wool Marketing Board.
- Outdoor stands: 1, Cormac Engineering; 2, AgriLloyd; 3, David Ritchie Ltd/George Hamilton Machinery.