The North Cork dairy farm producing 'super cows' for the country's leading AI centres
A 'super' cow family is breaking records for longevity and consistent transmission of exceptional breeding genes for Henry O'Keeffe's spring calving herd on his North Cork dairy farm.
The 'Odetta' breeding line succession has produced sires for some of the leading AI centres in the country, and bulls and heifers have been sold to scores of Irish breeders over the past three decades.
Bulls from the herd offered at IHFA shows and sales over the years have consistently sold for prices in the top five.
Earlier this year the Radney herd, which calved down 115 cows and heifers in 2017, was named Spring Calving Herd of the Year in the Cork Holstein Friesian Club.
The club recently hosted a field evening for club members at the farm at Knockilla, Freemount.
The herd, which had a yield average of 8,124kg at 3.94bf and 3.78pr in 2016, is largely made up of four 'families' of cows - Odetta, Gerrard, Deborah, and Ostrictch - of which the former is a rare leader across the Holstein breed in Ireland and abroad for performance and gene transmission.
"The herd was depopulated in 1987 and when I was restocking I decided to start the pedigree herd," says Henry on the decision which laid the foundation of "a very lucky" breeding policy on the farm.
"I bought the first Odetta cow from Mary Burns (Kanturk) at that time, and her successors have turned out to be super cows.