AN eleven-year-old cow from Cheshire won the 2023 Simmental Virtual Show. 

After six weeks of judging throughout July and August, the show was won by Vale Royal Annie from James Arnold, Tarporley, Cheshire. Mr Arnold has won the show twice after having won the event with Vale Royal Heavenly Girlie in 2020. 

There were 431 entries in the show, which has been running for the past four years, from 81 pedigree breeders from all over the UK. 

The Simmental Virtual Show was started as a ‘bit of fun’ during Covid lockdown.  This year’s event has seen 431 animals entered over the six classes, up by 145 on last year.

Vale Royal Annie initially prevailed from a tremendous class of 92 Cows-in-milk, judged by Bridget Olds of the Bosahan herd, Falmouth, Cornwall, before securing the Female Championship from the section judge John Barlow of the Denizes herd, Nr Leyland, Lancs.  

In the Supreme Championship, judged by David Lowry of the noted Keeldrum Herd, Newsteadings Farm, Lanark, she went head-to-head with the Male Champion Kilbride Farm Jetstream 18 (P) from WH Robson & Sons, Doagh, Ballyclare, before duly being announced as the winner.

David said: "Vale Royal Annie is just a tremendous example of the Simmental breed.  She’s eleven-years-old and in the picture she just retains such a freshness, and is full of breed character and femininity. 

"Annie has an excellent top line on her, lovely balanced body, a tremendous udder for her age and looks to be standing on a good set of legs. With nine calves to her name she’s also a terrific example of the longevity that is typical of Simmental females and I think she’s a very worthy Supreme Champion.”

The male champion and reserve overall, Kilbride Farm Jetstream, is by the homozygous polled bull Sneumgaard Imperator (PP), and is out of Kilbride Farm Dora 70F from one of the herd’s noted cow families. 

Kilbride Farm Jetstream won the fifth class of this year’s show and which comprised of a hugh quality entry of 26 Senior Simmental Bulls judged by Alan Wilson of the Bannhill herd, Dorans Hill, Newry. 

South West Farmer: Killbride Farm Jetstream

Moving into the Championships, Kilbride Farm Jetstream 18 (P) was awarded the Male Championship by the section judge Stewart Stronach of the Islavale herd, Berryleys Farm, Keith. 

David added:  “Again, this is a terrific Simmental bull.  He’s just about five-years-old and is extremely smart.  He shows plenty of breed character with a good head, has lovely fleshing with excellent muscling, and appears to be standing on a good set of legs. Correct and square over the plates this is a very modern type Simmental bull and who has come through some very strong classes.”

Mr Arnold said it felt 'amazing' to win the competition for a second time. 

He added: “The Simmental Virtual Show is great fun but the standard of entries this year has been really top drawer. I’d like to congratulate all of the exhibitors who’ve put on a fantastic promotion of the quality and potential in the Simmental breed.

“Vale Royal Annie is an incredible cow. She’s bred to every bull she’s been put to and has produced nine calves. All bar one of her five bull calves have gone to pedigree breeders and with arguably the best of the lot going to a commercial producer.  We sell them young due to our set up and in one instance she bred a £10,000 bull sold to the Crowgey herd at 11-month-sold.  Her latest bull calf Vale Royal North Star was sold to the Bailey family’s noted Mixbury Hall herd in Northamptonshire this year. 

“Annie has been amazing for us. She’s so low maintenance, gets in calf easily and first time, is so sound and just very feminine. I think this year at eleven-years-old she’s looking as well as she ever has done, and she’s back in calf to Curaheen Wakeman.  There’s been many offers to buy her over the years but Annie’s part of the furniture and definitely not for sale!”

To see the class winners and all of the entries in this year’s 2023 Simmental Virtual Show then visit the Society’s Facebook page.