The Baileys cow competition returns to Virginia Show once again for 2023, with this year marking the event’s 80th anniversary.

The show attracts breeders from across the island, to showcase some of the top Holstein cows in the country.

At last year’s event, the Diageo Baileys champion cow prize was won by Co. Down breeders Sam and John McCormick with their entry Hilltara Undenied Apple VG89, selected by judge David Booth from Feizor Holsteins.

Hilltara Undenied Apple VG89

She was also named as champion Junior cow at last year’s event in Virginia.

The Reserve Champion title went to Hallow Atwood Twizzle 1191 EX90 from Co. Wexford breeders Philip and Linda Jones from Hallow Holstein.

Honourable Mention was given to Baldonnel Brady Hailey from Co. Dublin breeder John Dowling.

Baileys cow

One of the main attractions of the Virginia Show is the Baileys cow competition, with an increased prize fund to mark the 40th year of the competition.

The breeder of the Bailey Champion will receive a €3,000 prize, followed by €1,500 and €800 for Reserve Champion and Honourable Mention respectively.

Other awards will be presented across several categories, including Junior Cows in their second lactation; the Best Junior Cow category has prizes worth €1,550 in total and the popular Best Heifer in Milk category carries a fund of €1,550 with 1st place worth €750.

The judge of this year’s Diageo Baileys Champion Cow in partnership with Tirlán has been named as Mark Logan from Co. Down.

Logan is the manager of well-known Clandeboye Estate which is situated just outside Bangor.

He is no stranger to this ‘all-Ireland’ competition having won the Reserve Champion prize himself in 2008.

Mark Logan, judge for the 2023 Baileys cow competition

He also worked, as an agriculture student of College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Greenmount, on the Ballymoney farm of the very first judge of ‘The Baileys’, Bertie Kerr.

Commenting on his role as judge 40 years on, and the important task that lies ahead in Co. Cavan on August 23, he said: “It is an honour to be asked to judge the Diageo Baileys Champion Cow.

“The contest is regarded as the most prestigious within the summer show circuit on the island of Ireland – it consistently attracts only top-class cows.

“I will be looking out for the breeder who can show me the ‘complete package’ in the parade ring.

“The winning cow this August will have to have it all – balance, dairy strength, quality through the udder and great locomotion.”

Pedigree breeding

Originally from Co. Antrim, Mark Logan has judged many shows in Northern Ireland as well as the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) Emerald Expo event.

In Great Britain he has judged Holsteins at the Royal Highland Show and the All-breeds at the AgriScot, and will be at the Royal Welsh Show next week judging the Dairy Interbreeds.

He has been managing the 670ac Clandeboye Estate farm since 1991.

He and his team have built up an impressive pedigree herd of 70 Holstein and 30 Jersey cows that boasts a lineage that goes back to the renowned Holstein families (Rosinas and Willows) and Jersey families (Evitas and Marbles) and produces 2,500L of milk per day on average.

Environment and economic sustainability go hand-in-hand in Mark’s management of the estate with a circular economy solution of an anaerobic digester installed in 2016.

It now fuels 100% of the estate’s electricity requirements and almost all of its heating and hot water.