Fermanagh Simmental breeders excelled at the recent NI National Simmental Show at Armagh Show when Scottish judge, Stewart Stronach, selected Ashland Topaz Lopez – bred by Pat and Frank Kelly, Tempo – as the supreme overall champion.

Mr. Stronach added: “The female and supreme champion is an exceptional heifer. She is very correct, square and long, and has great breed character and ring presence. This is a once-in-a-lifetime heifer!”

Ashland Topaz Lopez was senior champion at the inaugural Four-Breeds Calf Show at Dungannon last November.

Her latest success comes hot on the heels of winning the Simmental championship, beef performance heifer championship, and the reserve interbreed honours at Balmoral Show just four weeks ago.

Breed society President Mr. Stronach – who runs the 160-cow Islavale Herd alongside a 40-cow commercial enterprise – said it was a great honour to judge the NI National Show.

He said: “It has been an amazing show, with quality entries in all classes. I have really enjoyed judging, and I’d like to thank the exhibitors for putting on such a great show.

"One of the highlights for me was the pairs class. Seven top-quality pairs filled the ring, and it was a tremendous spectacle. The Simmental breed is definitely in good hands in Northern Ireland!”

The Kelly family’s Ashland prefix was also behind the breeding of the junior champion, reserve female and reserve supreme champion, Ashland Topaz Mair.

Born in January, 2021, this heifer was purchased privately last autumn by brothers Shane and Paul McDonald for their Tempo-based Coolcran Herd.

Sired by Saltire Impressive, this one is bred from the Whitemire King Kong daughter, Ashland Topaz 3rd – maternal sister to the dam of the supreme champion.

She was junior champion at Balmoral Show, and went on to secure the reserve junior interbreed honours.

The McDonalds had a memorable day at the NI National Show, also chalking up the male championship and reserve junior award with the home-bred bull, Coolcran Maximus.

Keith Nelson, Rosslea, took a second prize in the junior heifer class, while Mark Cutler, Enniskillen won the bull calf class.