Cullyhanna heifer scoops top Limousin prize

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

A Cullyhanna farmer has spoken to Newry Times of his delight at winning the top prize in a recent show for pedigree Limousin cattle. Henry Savage and his four sons (Benedict, Henry, Phelim and Dermot) recently entered the competition in Carlisle, England and won all the top prizes. On what prompted him to enter the competition, which is held every ten years and celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, Henry said, “Our heifer was a reserve champions in Balmoral in May but there was a Bluetongue testing restriction on cattle being moved from Ireland to England so we never entered before but that restriction was lifted on 5th July so we decided to go over for the competition with our heifer. It is a specialist show in England held every ten years to celebrate the first Limousin arriving in the UK. There was around 174 Limousin at the show.”

Despite the vast number of Limousins on show, it was the Cullyhanna heifer which stood out. The heifer, affectionately known as ‘Trueman Euphonium’ won the intermediate class against 12 other heifers, progressing to the Championship with four different intermediate classes coming together, which it also won. Then the three winners came together from each class and Trueman Euphonium claimed the top prize once again as the overall female champion. The competition did not end there however, with the Cullyhanna heifer then facing the overall male champion in front of the expert judging panel, which again she came first. Henry and his four sons won an accumulated total of £1650.00 as well as a beautiful glass bowl engraved with the 40th Anniversary of the Limousin show and a statue of a bull for best homebred animal.

Henry explained that his heifer has always had that little something extra which marks it out as special. He continued, “It was the first time a Northern Irish farmer has won the accolade. She really is a tremendous heifer; she is extremely long and with big muscles. In fact, the judge even went so far as to describe her as the best heifer he has seen since the famous French heifer called Opperette who went on to breed the bull Sympa, the most successful bull ever in the Limousin breed.”

There is no doubt that Henry and his four sons work extremely hard on their farm and deserve every bit of success that has come their way and the modest Henry plays down his role and added, “There is a lot of hard work involved but a bit of luck too. We have been breeding for 14 years and I suppose we are always constantly trying to improve, we sold a heifer in Christmas 2009 in Carlisle, and it was sold for 38,000 guineas which was a Northern Ireland record which is still held for a heifer.”

The judge at the Limousin event, Aled Edwards spoke of the ‘special’ heifer and said, “I was looking for as much muscle and growth as possible with the retention of both femininity and style at the same time.  These qualities were in abundance throughout the female section. The Champion is an outstanding animal with real power and just full of breed character, balance and style.  To have that level of quality in a Limousin female of that age is something quite special and she was a very worthy Champion.”

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