Farm Ireland

Sunday 23 October 2016

Showcasing Holstein excellence

Thousands of visitors travelled to the recent Holstein Friesian event in Limerick, reports Martin Ryan

Published 15/07/2015 | 02:30

Six month old, 'Lisnalty Classic' sold for €3,750 at the IHFA Open Day.
Six month old, 'Lisnalty Classic' sold for €3,750 at the IHFA Open Day.
Jimmy Hannan

It was in the late 1960s that Jimmy Hannan decided to leave the men's outfitting business in Limerick city to take up full-time farming nearby on 22 acres.

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Now, the 80-year-old explains how he worked hard to extend the modest farm to the 700ac, including 150ac rented lands, mixed-operation split between dairy and beef that it is today.

Hosting the Irish Holstein Friesian Association National Open Day - one of the largest events on the breeding calendar - was a proud occasion for the farmer after decades spent building up the Lisnalty Holstein herd at the farm in Crecora, Co Limerick into one of the most successful in the region.

"I bought the farm, with a Land Commission house on it, for £2,200 in 1965 when I got married to Marie," he recalled, after crossing the Shannon from Clonlara to establish a dairy farm on the fertile lands at Lisnalty, Crecora in the shadow of the hurling village of Patrickswell.

"I worked hard to build it up from dairy farming, but I could not have done it without Marie's help - she worked hard too - and we had the health and luck to do," said Jimmy.

Today his son Paul manages the 110 cow dairy herd, split 60/40 between the autumn and spring calving to supply 1.2 million litres to Kerry Co-Op liquid milk division.

The herd average yield is 12,500 kgs at 3.70pc butterfat and 3.20pc protein. Another son John runs a beef enterprise with a herd of 60 Charolais and Limousin cross sucklers and 150 cattle finished as beef, as well as a successful baled silage contracting business.

The herd has been a consistent winner of regional and national awards as well as numerous show rosettes over the decades, success that was further enhanced when the 2015 National Herd Award for herds over 70 cows was presented to Paul at the open day.

More than 5,000 people travelled from the four corners of the country to the breed society's major annual event.

The gathering included TD Eamon O'Cuiv, the Fianna Fail spokesman on agriculture, Peter Ging, president of the IHFA and Sean Finan, president of Macra na Feirme.

Performing the official opening, Gerry Coughlan, regional manager in Kerry Co-Op, commended the host family for their achievement in developing the Lisnalty herd which he described as one of the top Holstein herds in the country following which there was a parade of the leading 'cow families' in the herd.

A top price of €5,000 was paid for a 21-month-old pedigree Holstein heifer at the 'Cream of Lisnalty' sale of heifers in conjunction with the IHFA National Open Day.

Bidding was brisk for Lisnalty Uno Raven, a 100pc Holstein out of Lynbrook Fortune Raven EX 91 by Amighetti Numero Uno Tv before the fall of the auctioneer's hammer to applause of the packed ringside.

The family of the heifer has a record of success in some of the best known Holstein herds in the country, including Lisnalty, Monamore, Ards and Leagh.

Two six-month-old heifer calves from the herd sold for a combined €7,000 - Lisnalty Classic topping at €3,750 and Lisnalty Tammy 807 selling for €3,250 - the former regarded as a potential 13th generation VG or EX and the latter from a family of cows with proven superb performance.

In total 33 lots were offered in the evening auction of young dairy stock, including the progeny of some of the top yielding cows in the herd.

Several of the lots sold for between €3,000 and €3,700, with the prices for the younger animals ranging back to €1,800.

The opening lot was a calf donated by the family, five-month-old Lisnalty April 849, which sold for €950, with the proceeds being presented to Mid West Cancer Foundation.

Holstein Friesian open day results

Herds Over 70 cows: 1 Paul Hannan, Crecora, Co Limerick  2 John  Barrett and Sons, Lehenaghmore, Togher, Co Cork 3  Brochan and Joseph Cocoman, Kilwarden, Kill, Co Kildare.

Herds Under 70 cows: 1 Richard Whelan, Towlagh, Clonard, Co Meath 2 Dermot Jackson, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow 3 Eddie O'Flynn, Ballinascarthy, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Spring Herds: 1 Eamon McLoughney, Ardcroney, Co Tipperary 2 Thomas Byrne, Craanford, Gorey, Co Wexford 3 Margaret Laffan, Kilfinny, Co Limerick l Gold Awards for exceeding production of 3,000kgs: Patrick Cunningham, Clashmore, Co Waterford; Jeremiah O'Connell, Donoughmore, Co Cork; Donagh Buckley, Mallow, Co Cork; Martin Ryan, Templemore, Co Tipperary and Kevin Flynn, Rearyvalley, Co Laois.

Diamond Awards for EX Classifications: Thomas Screene, Ballinasloe; Kevin Flynn, Rearyvalley, Co Laois; Callaghan Hennessy, Dungourney, Co Cork,; William J Connor, Crossmolina, Co Mayo and John Moroney, Drumcliffe, Ennis.

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