Irish Pure Friesian open day 2010
Martin Crowe, Chairman Irish Pure Friesian Club, Francis Fitzgerald, Gortfadda Herd, Kilfinny, Adare, Co. Limerick host of Irish Pure Friesian Open Day on Saturday July 10th 2010 and Bill O’Keeffe, PRO Irish Pure Friesian Club
The Irish Pure Friesian Open Day 2010 as kindly hosted by Francis and Catherine FitzGerald and family, Kilfinny, Adare Co. Limerick on Saturday 10th July
The picturesque village of Adare is home to this well known Gortfadda herd of Irish Pure Friesians. Despite the inclement weather on the day (although the rain was badly needed this year with grass yield suffering on many farms,)a very large crowd attended from all areas of the country.
Martin Crowe, Club chairman and Bill O’Keefe PRO welcomed everyone.
Francis Fitzgerald spoke on the “Gortfadda herd” and his targets to breed a balanced pure Friesian with Milk and protein, Fertility and Longevity while at the same time maintaining diversity of Bloodlines.
This herd is an excellent example of the breed. The cows exuded dairy quality with size with excellent udders for a Pure Friesian
The 65 cow herd is run on 65 acres of a milking platform with an additional 45 acres to accommodate all the young stock. 30 to 40 young breeding bulls are kept each year and sold to customers that have been returning year after year for bulls that breed productive, fertile and correct cows. Surplus heifers are also sold annually and generate a good income.
Matt Ryan of Teagasc put financial figures on the sale of surplus heifers and young stock bulls as equivalent to €0.15c/litre on this farm. This is possible due to the high fertility and longevity of the breed.
Dr Andrew Cromie of ICBF also commented on this herd achieving away above national average in terms of number of calves born per 100 cows with 94 live calves per 100 cows born on this farm each year
Charles Gallagher Chief Executive of IHFA expressed the view in agreement with Andrew Cromie the need for a breed improvement scheme to capture these traits which play a pivotal role in the profitability of the breed. He also pledged IHFA support in promoting the breed as a grass based alternative and also highlighted that the Pure Friesian can capture heterosis on crossing while remaining within the Black and White cow family.
The Molly Family is the outstanding bloodline in the Gortfadda Herd..
Francis gave an interesting talk on how this family was started by his late father and graded Up to Pedigree through the IHFA supplementary register.
The 4 highest €BI cows in the herd are all Molly cows. This family in particular has great type, production and fertility. A good example in G. Molly 56, she has now calved in December each year for the last 6 years and has a high lactation so far of 8369 Kgs Milk @ 4.44 Fat and 3.74 Protein: 685 Kgs Milk Solids. She is a daughter of Catlane Corsair and has an €BI of €153.
IHFA Classification Demonstration:
John Kirby, Field Development Officer with IHFA explained the Classification and Linear scoring system on a group of cows in the herd which attracted great interest. John explained how an animal’s functional traits are scored between biological extremes on a scale of one to nine and the farmer by using this scale can choose the type of cow that best suits his farming system.
Good Grassland Management a key factor in profitability
There was excellent grass in front of the cows . Cows are grazed on a paddock system with 21 day rotation and the aim is to have quality grass in front of the cows at all times
The goal is to breed medium size cows with quality udders and excellent feet and legs as cows have to walk long distances. Francis’s strategy is to use all modern scientific methods of grass measurement, AI bulls from proven cow families with positive linear conformation scores and EBI Index to achieve this balance. Francis is a member of the Golden ValeTeagasc discussion group and his local facilitator is Martin Crowe.
Bull selection is for high Protein, at least a plus0.05% while maintaining Milk yield.
Stock Judging Competition;
The evening finished with the results of the stock judging competition while everyone was enjoying a welcome cup of tea prepared by the ladies .The master judge for the Evening was John O Connor,”Ballykennedy”Co imerick.
Thanks to the Limerick Clare club for collating the scores.
The winners were as follows:
Under 18 Michael Kinnane Jnr, Horse and Jockey, Co Tip
Under 30 Donal Carey, Kilmaley, Co Clare
Senior Michael Spillane, Tullamaine , Fethard. Co Tip
The President of IHFA Mervyn Jones thanked everyone on behalf of IHFA and wished Francis ,Catherine and family every success with their herd for the future.
Martin Crowe closed the event by thanking the hosts, Francis and Catherine Fitzgerald and family, sponsors – Dovea, Dan O Connors feeds, and FRS, and everyone for turning up for the day.
Irish Friesian Breeder Club Officers
Secretary: Francis Fitzgerald 061 396256
Chairman: Martin Crowe 086 8290769
PRO: Bill O’Keeffe 086 8392396
Single Purpose – Dual Result
The ideal breed for low cost systems,
High solids, Excellent fertility, Easy maintenance, High value male offspring