The Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) Open Day 2014

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) Open Day 2014

Picture: Donal Igoe (left) and Pat Shiels (right) Lakeland Dairies, with Greg Doris, Ballinalee, Co. Longford.

The IHFA National Open Day was held on the 9th July on the Taylor family farm “Cloonboygher”, Newtowngore, Co. Leitrim. The first occasion it was held in Co. Leitrim.

A large crowd well in excess of 2,000 were in attendance with dairy farmers travelling from every corner of the country, Northern Ireland and Britain.

The general crowd were awe struck at the beautiful setting and general neat layout of paddocks, farm roadways and the yard which looked splendid in blazing sunshine from the top of the hill. As the crowd made their way from the car park this impressive & scenic setting immediately made a lasting impression and set the tone for a tremendously enjoyable visit.

Charles Gallagher, Chief Executive and Tom Murphy, President of IHFA welcomed everyone to the Open day. The official opening was performed by Michael Hanley, CEO of Lakeland Dairies who emphasized their commitment to Dairy expansion in the area. 

Main sponsors on the day were Lakeland Dairies who sponsored the Interclub stock judging, Greenvale who sponsored the National Herds Competition, FBD Insurance who sponsored The Gold & Diamond awards and Volac who sponsored YMA. Agri Aware generously supplied prize packs to the U12’s.

The herd was established as a Pedigree Registered herd in the early seventies by John’s parents Harold and Betty. There are 5 generations of the family associated with farming the land at Cloonboygher.  Shorthorns were the original choice, but that all changed three generations ago when Friesians were introduced in the 1970’s by Harold & Betty with the purchase of 12 British Friesian heifers from a farm in Co. Meath.  

Over the years the Cloonboygher herd has progressed and through the 80’s and 90’s different cow families were added to increase the genetic pool within the herd. Since 2000 they have relied on their own replacements and breeding strategy to keep improving the herd and at the same time maintaining almost a fully closed herd and with the exception of 3 animals the 240+ cattle on farm are all homebred. 

Herd average for 2013 in 305 days was 8,611kg (1840 gallons) @ 3.77 % Fat & 3.34 % Protein, a total of 612kg Milk Solids per cow. The bulls chosen for breeding the future cow in the Cloonboygher herd are selected to continue improvements in milk solids and improve functional type. The aim being to breed a medium sized cow, suitable to the heavy land, with 5 equally important traits, good production of high solids milk, good feet & legs, well attached udders, good fertility and longevity. 85% of the milking herd is classified in the top two grades thus indicating the success of the breeding policy so far. Classifications currently are 30 EX, 52 VG & 23 GP. 

The Taylor family were very thankful to all who helped make the day such a wonderful success.They thanked Charles Gallagher, CE and all the staff in IHFA for their help and efforts in the organization and planning of this event.  They also thanked the sponsors, caterers, cow leaders and especially the West Midlands and Breffni Oriel Clubs...