YMA Hall of Fame 2012


The Ballinahina herd is one of Ireland’s foremost herds famous for its Pedigree Holsteins. “Pedigree Breeding for profitable milk production” is the breeding goal at Ballinahina. Dairy farming has been carried out in Ballinahina since 1928 when Denis & Maura Buckley established a herd of about 30 dairy shorthorn cows.

The herd of registered Holstein Friesians was established in 1950 by Michael and his late father Denis. The herd was further developed with a purchase from the Claybury Herd, UK – ‘Claybury Benefactor’ who left his mark on the breed of that time through his excellent progeny. He was the only privately owned bull who was proven. The DAFM granted permission to import females into Ireland in 1975 and Ballinahina imported their first Canadian holsteins.

Since 2000 Michael & his wife Biddy are milking in partnership with their son Thomas & his wife Rhona. Michael’s mission statement in 1950 was to “improve output per cow by identifying the best convertors of available feed and forage on the farm, improve udders, legs & feet, provide a good return and profit margin which would afford the same lifestyle as our commercial friends and enjoy working with good quality cows in comfortable working conditions for man and beast!”

This mission statement still holds true today. Michael Buckley ably supported by his wife Biddy & family has been involved with pedigree cattle breeding all his farming life and was pivotal in the growth and evolution of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA). He spearheaded milk recording, setting up a computerised system IDRC on a pilot scheme that was the forerunner of the present day system. He also has the distinction of holding all offices in Holstein UK and Ireland, (HUKI), elected to the highest office of President in 1985, the greatest honour that the society can bestow on it’s members.