Brothers' perform rare double act when it comes to breeding champs

It has been 'the best year' ever for Barretts in a very competitive dairy field

Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow winner, John Barrett from Togher Co Cork being congratulated earlier this year.
Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow winner, John Barrett from Togher Co Cork being congratulated earlier this year.

Martin Ryan

Breeding a national champion in any breed can be a lifetime honour, but doing so on the double with different breeds is a rare achievement and especially so when accomplished in the same year.

Such has been the success of the Cork brothers, Rickey and John Barrett that they regard 2015 as being "the best ever" for the long time breeders and exhibitors on the agricultural show circuit for their 'Laurel' herds in a very competitive field of top class dairy breeders.

To the Supreme Champion honours for a Holstein Friesian at Emerald Expo, Kilkenny and Diageo National Dairy Champion at Virginia they have added the National Jersey Championship at Millstreet Dairy Show.

Holstein Friesian awards during the year include the Championship at Limerick and Reserve Championship at Charleville, as well as showing the Jersey Champion at Charleville, among other show awards during the season.

Fifteen years ago they split the family dairy enterprise built up by their father, John, to run separate dairy enterprises, while continuing to jointly exhibit the progeny from the two herds, 'Laurelmore' and 'Laurelelm' based at Adamstown, Ballinhassig and Lenenaghmore, Togher.

The herd at Adamstown comprise of 240 high EBI Holstein-Friesians with 150 similar quality gene dairy stock in the Togher herd.

Both herds are largely home bred with "only two or three cows between both herds bought in" which speak volumes for the foundation stock.

Eight year old, 'Laurelmore Duplex Impala' which has a yield of 14,695kgs at 4.75 fat and 3.43 protein to her credit was judged Emerald Expo Supreme Champion 2015 before claiming the prestigious Diageo National Dairy Champion title at Virginia Show.

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'Laurelelm Ruben Sassy' from the Ballinhassig herd, who will be 11 years in January 2016 has delivered her eighth calf since August last and collected the rosette for the Mature Cow in Milk class, one of the most keenly contested classes at the National Dairy Show at Millstreet last month where a trio of cows from the 'Laurelm' herd took the top award in the group class and 'Laurelelm Duplex Impala' won the Production Class.

'Laurelelm Comereica Glamour' was judged Supreme Jersey Champion and exhibitor bred champion and the 'Laurel' herds added the honours for Premier Exhibitor and Premier Breeder at the show.

Keeping it in the family 'gene' their nephew, 13-year-old, secondary school student JJ O'Connor, Togher, Cork retained the Junior Handler title for the second year.

"Our selection of animals for breeding is based on type, protein, fertility and EBI," says Rickey who says the priority is maintaining high production base commercial herds "and we enjoy showing a few animals" with the awards a nice bonus.

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