Guinness family 'thrilled' with full clearance of dairy herd at successful auction

Knockmaroon Red Holstein Friesians in the mart pens at Carnaross prior to the auction.
Knockmaroon Red Holstein Friesians in the mart pens at Carnaross prior to the auction.
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

The Guinness family had full clearance of their North Dublin dairy herd at a sale on Saturday, which was understood to be one of the last milking operations within the M50.

Kieran Guinness and the Knockmaroon farm management team recently decided to sell off the herd and focus instead on maintaining and building up their mixed drystock enterprise.

With 21 hectares under use, dairy manager Peter Taaffe said the farm - which milks 50 cows in the winter and 40 in the spring - was already "maxed out" and that expansion wasn’t a viable option on a site that was already under pressure from ever-increasing urban sprawl.

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Cattle at The Knockmaroon Farm, Castleknock. PIC COLIN ORIORDAN

The sale which took place in Carnaross Mart, Kells Co Meath saw full clearance of the 70 -strong milking herd and young stock including seven autumn calving in calf heifers, 20 bulling heifers, and 14 autumn and spring born heifer calves.

Herd Manager Peter Taaffe told FarmIreland that the average price for their Holstein Friesian cows was €1,570 but that the top price of the day went to a four calving star attraction which went under the hammer for €3,120.

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Catalogue from the Knockmaroon Dispersal Sale.

Two red Holstein Friesians came in second selling at €3,080 and €2,850 respectively.

“The Guinness family were thrilled with how the sale went and we had people there from all over the country at the sale, so we were delighted with how it went,” added Peter.

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Farm manager Peter Taaffe (right) and Barry Clarke with some of their herd at Knockmaroon Farm, beside the Phoenix Park. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

Peter lives on a cottage on the farm with his wife Ann and two children - Cathal, who is studying agricultural science in UCD, and Orla, who is in fifth year at Castleknock Community College.

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He said the farm has given them a great life and insists that it's not the end of an era as he will continue to drive on the farm's drystock herd.

"We have about 150 cattle made up of some Angus, Whiteheads and Friesians," he said.

"We'll keep what we have and expand a bit, we won't overstock either. We want to keep it to a small number and we'll talk to Teagasc as they might have different plans that we can look into."

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