IHFA National Open Day 2018 – Oldrose Herd
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Tropical weather across the country swell the crowds at the IHFA National Open Day!
The IHFA National Open Day is now established as a prominent event in the agri-calendar, where Holstein Friesian breeders, dairy farmers and industry from across the country attend. The event is a major shop window to showcase breed genetic diversity, variation and efficiency of performance. Staging the Open Day on different host herds across the country every year helps demonstrate breed performance across diverse farming systems.
In excess of 2,000 people travelled to county Meath and the to Oldrose Herd of the Collins family who were hosting this year’s event. The farm was a sea of colour and looked splendid in the tropical sunshine. Luscious grass was available for the cows as the Collins are excellent grassland enthusiasts, however we could see that the drought conditions were starting to affect re growths.
Everyone was warmly welcomed by the family with refreshments, copious amount of sandwiches and treats for all visitors. The charity Down Syndrome Ireland were busy serving ice creams with all donations deeply appreciated. Cold bottles of water were on hand at various stations as the temperatures climbed to 28 degrees Celsius. The local voluntary group Ardcath & Clonalvy First Responders, consisting of volunteers from the surrounding parishes had a prominent presence with the aim of increasing awareness around remedial action in the event of medical emergency situations. This cause was well received by those in attendance since such situations are very real to all especially rural communities. Donations in lieu of the refreshments provided on the day were in aid of this voluntary group, of which Patricia Collins is an active member.
The official opening was performed by Helen McEntee, Minister for European Affairs and TD for Meath East. Helen stressed the importance of such events to the rural economy and complimented IHFA, the Collins family and members of the North Eastern Club for organising such a splendid event.
Other dignitaries in attendance were a delegation from the Government of Egypt including Dr. Mona Mehrez, Vice Minister for Agriculture; Dr. Ghanem, Veterinary Officerand accompanied by personnel from DAFM, Bord Bia and the Irish Embassy – Mostafa Hassanien, Egyptian Embassy Dublin; Vincent Herlihy, Deputy Head of Mission with the Irish Embassy based in Cairo; David Butler, Director of Sustainable Food Systems Ireland and Claudia Saumell, Africa Manager, Bord Bia.
One of the objectives of the delegation is to agree a Health Certificate between Ireland and Egypt for export of dairy stock. It is not possible to export animals without this Health Certificate. This visit by the delegates is only the first step in the export process, serving as an insight to the Irish industry. The delegation were impressed with what they saw during the course of their visit.
Among the many dignitaries were Wilbert Rankin, President of Holstein Northern Ireland and Charles Weir, Chairman. John Martin their Field Officer, was also in attendance with a well honed team for the Inter-club Open Stock Judging.
Peter Kennelly, President of IHFA , Peter Ging, Chairman along with Chief Executive Charles Gallagher welcomed everyone as proceedings got under way with the Inter-club Stock Judging.
The Master Judges were Tom Kelly, Monamore herd; Dessie Dunleavy, former manager of the Moneymore herd; Michael Maunsell, Maunsell herd and Eamonn McLoughney, Ballythomas herd who judged the Under 12 YMA section. They were fulsome in their praise of the stock and overall presentation as the cows were paraded in front of a very enthusiastic audience.
Leo Collins Jnr gave a commentary on all the stock. A key trait running through the herd was the performance of the cows coupled with longevity over six and seven lactations.
Current herd average is 9,540kgs milk, 4.83% fat, 3.26% protein (305 days). Farming near Balgeeth, Ardcath, the Collins family milk 200 pedigree registered Holstein Friesian cows. Leo Collins Snr and his wife Patricia established the Oldrose prefix in 1976. The top Friesian lines were used in the early days and some select purchases of pedigree stock from local herds helped put a solid base in place. Holstein lines were then used in the following years, helping to drive increased output. Leo & Patricia have five sons; James, Eoin, Leo and Brian. They were all in attendance helping out in getting the farm yard in ship shape.
Leo junior returned home to the farm in 2003. He is married to Aisling and they have two daughters Saoirse and Eilish.
The main sponsor was McAuley Feeds, a local miller supplying feed to the Oldrose herd. It is a third-generation family owned and operated business. David McAuley on behalf of the company addressed the crowd and said that the Collins farm were one of their first customers when his father set up the business. He was fulsome in his praise of the sheer professionalism of the day and his association with the Oldrose Herd. He, along with his brother Louis, presented the prizes for the Inter-club Stock Judging .
I wish to thank all the judges who included Stephen Nagle, Landmark Herd, who was the reason giving judge for YMA and Pat Tuite, Maurill Herd and John O’Dea former manager of Clongowes who were the Macra judges.
I wish to thank all our sponsors, McAuley Feeds, Greenvale, AIB, Drogheda Milk Producers, FBD Insurance, Farm Relief Services, Glanbia, Volac and Westgate Veterinary Services.
Agri Aware attended with their Family Farm. This is a novel attraction for young children to view the display of small animals; piglets, lambs, chicks etc and also provided a practical demo on butter making. There was a diverse trade stand display featuring products and services on the market place.
I wish to thank those who helped train and led the cows on the day, all the stewards, local club members, those that helped with the parking, and IHFA staff.
Finally I wish to thank the Collins family for being such marvellous hosts.
National Herds Competition:
The results of the National Herds Competition were announced with beautiful prizes sponsored by Greenvale Animal Feeds, for which I am greatly thankful.
I wish to thank Mark Logan, Clandeboye Estates, Northern Ireland, who visited and judged 38 herds across the country.
The Oldrose Open Day Sale in conjunction with the hosting of the IHFA National Open Day saw a buoyant trade with 35 lots forward on the day. Hosts Leo Collins Snr and Jnr & family offered the very best young stock that would have been retained in the herd except for the proud occasion of hosting the IHFA National Open Day. The herd is built mainly on home-bred cow families with some choice purchases of select cow families made along the way.
Oldrose Rambo Torch (Lot 16) made the top price selling for €3,750
She is a potential 9th generations of VG/EX from the renowned Torch family – Monamore. Her dam has averaged over 9,000kgs in her first three lactations to date. A stylish September born heifer sired by OCD Kingboy Rambo.