A top class herd built on home bred cows
Three strong bloodlines are the foundation for the Screene family's Windfield herd of Holstein Friesians
Published 13/07/2016 | 02:30
Building a successful dairy herd from home-bred strong cow families was the main theme at the Annual Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) Open Day which was held on the farm of Tommy and Orla Screene at Menlough in Co Galway - the first time the event has been held in the county.
More than 1,500 breeders admired the progeny of the successful Katie, Mary, and Irene bloodlines, three of the cow families upon which the 65-cow Windfield herd has been built.
The Screene family, who have been farming at Windfield since 1890, switched to dairy farming in the 1970s and the pedigree herd was established by Tommy in 1999.
A new dairy unit was erected on a green field site the following year.
He has successfully concentrated on building the herd around a select number of cow families, relying mainly on herd replacements and breeding them to 100pc AI sires specifically chosen to improve both yield and solids and breed a functional type cow.
"Our heifers consistently keep improving year on year," said Tommy.
He added that the heifers being offered at the draft sale in tandem with the event "included many that we would love to retain for the herd's future progress.
"Our aim is to breed an economically efficient cow with five equally important traits, good production of high milk solids, good feet and legs, good fertility and longevity," he said.