25th IHFA National Holstein Friesian Open Day – Report

Breeders from across the country flocked to Crossnacole Holsteins in Co. Wicklow for what promised to be an occasion to savour. They certainly were not disappointed. The farm yard layout, the overall presentation, attention to detail and the quality of the cows that would compare with any herd worldwide in a beautiful setting with the backdrop of Sliabh Donard.

Everyone was warmly welcomed with refreshments laid on for young and old.

This was the 25th anniversary of the National Open day hosted on that inaugural occasion by Crossnacole Holsteins. The herd has evolved over the 25 years, originally a herd of Friesians graded up from homebred cow families to a Holstein Herd built on International cow families through the purchase of Embryos mainly from North America with some purchase from France and at home.

Michael Phelan, Manager of the Agri-Division at Connolly Redmills officially opened the event. As main sponsors of the event he wished Victor and IHFA a successful day. Connolly Redmills through their local branch Morrins have a long association with supplying feed to the Crossnacole herd.

The sales ring at Crossnacole

The programme of events included the Inter club stockjuding.

Spectators were in awe at the quality of the 22 cows in the ring. Comments such as “if you saw 22 cows of this calibre at Emerald Expo, Tullamore or the Dairy show it would be the talk of the show,especially when they were all bred and supplied from the one herd”The Master Judges John Barrett-Laurelmore, Garry Hurley-Clonpaddin, Garry Jones- Hallow and Izzy Jones-Knowlesmere who judged the under 12 YMA were fulsome in their praise of the stock and the overall presentation.

I wish to thank all our judges including Diarmud Murphy-Lissaniskey for taking the reasons for the under 18 section, also John Joe Doyle –Kiltrea and Enda Jordan-Vinegar Hill for judging the Macra. Prizes were presented to the winning teams by Connolly Redmills and FBD, sponsors. Full results HERE

I wish to thank all our sponsors including Volac who sponsored the YMA and Glanbia –Consumer foods who helped sponsor the catering.Donations were made to Downe Syndrome Ireland and Baltinglass Nursing home who were the designated charities.I wish to thank the local club members who helped with the training of the cows, stewards and all who helped in any way. I wish to thank Eric and Richard who were always on hand and made everything possible.

I also wish to thank all the IHFA staff both office and field for their help and support.Finally I wish to thank Victor for being such a marvellous host. Dignitaries present included IHFA President Kathleen Watson Recently elected President of Holstein UK, David Perry and his wife Beatrice, Killane Herd, Northern Ireland, were also in attendance.

National Herds Competition:

Prizes were also presented to the National Herds competition winners. I wish to thank Greenvale for sponsoring this competition over many years. I also wish to thank our Judge Paul Hannan of the Lisnalty herd for taking the week off from his busy schedule to judge this prestigious competition.

Full results can be found HERE.

Celebration Sale

As part of the IHFA National Open Day a special sale offering the very best young stock from the top cow families is a traditional feature. Victor commented that he was preparing for this celebration for the last five years, flushing the top families. 15 members of the prolific Paradise family were on offer. The sale provided an opportunity to acquire a member of these deep pedigreed heifers from renowned cow families.

There were 53 lots on offer with two remaining unsold. Very brisk trade with an Average price €2600.

Top price Lot 32 €6,500 – An Atwood from the Fame family tracing back to the Moralta Inspiration Fame-Potential 5 generations EX with exceptional udder promise.

Lot 8 €5,000 – An Atwood from the Paradise family,3rd Dam is the renowned Dundee Precious.
Lot 12 –  Crossnacole McCutchen Precious sold for €4,000
Lot 24 – Crossnacole Uno Amy sold for €4,000
Lot 23 – Crossnacole Doorman Chastity sold for €3,800
Lot 29 – Crossnacole Attwood Precious 4 ET sold for €3,500
Lot 4 – Crossnacole McCutchen Larissa sold for €3,400
Lot 9 – Crossnacole Beemer Precious sold for €3,400
Lot 18 – Crossnacole Doorman Apple sold for €3,400
Lot 13 – Crossnacole McCutchen Andrea sold for €3,200
Lot 14 – Crossnacole Brokaw Alania – €3,100
Lot 40 – Crossnacole D Back Precious 3 – €3,100
Lot 16 – Crossnacole Atwood Andrea – €3,000
Lot 19 – Crossnacole Durbin Lina – €3,000
Lot 31 – Crossnacole Kingboy Fame – €3,000

Crossnacole Holsteins Herd Factfile:

Herd Size: 140 cows
Output: 1.4m litres sold in 2016. 500 gls (2,250 l) per day Liquid contract. The herd has won the Kildare Club quality milk award on many occasions.
Land base: 126 acres home farm with 60 acres rented for young stock and 20 acres Maize on contract.
Feeding: Max use of grazed grass, Turnout 17th March, out by night from 10th April. Housed by Mid October.
TMR: Grass Silage, Maize, Brewers, treated grain plus concentrates fed to yield in the parlour. Quality grass silage is key. The herd has won the Kildare Club silage competition on many occasions.
Breeding Policy: Medium sized, balanced capacious cows to consume large volume of roughage. Flushes 8 to 10 animals per year.
Labour: The herd is managed by Victor and his nephew Richard, additional casual labour is used at peak demand times.
Current Sires in use: Doorman, Atwood, Goldchip, Diamondback, Solomon, Kingboy, Beemer, Mogul, Flame .
Herd Achievements: RDS Champion, Baileys Champion, Tullamore Champion, Exhibitor bred Champion National Dairy show, Premier Bull sale Champion &Reserve, National Herds Competition winner. Kildare club successes.
Services: IHFA Registration & Classification. Teagasc Adviser Paul Keogh.

Victor is a keen showman and stockman, his skills are very much recognized as he is a judge both on the home circuit IHFA panel and on the European judges’ panel The herd was built on initial purchases from renowned cow families across the country and Northern Ireland as well as grading up the best cow families in the existing commercial herd.
Farming a limited land base meant that the cows had to deliver high production with excellent functionality in udders and legs and feet.

The herd has progressed in terms of production and type and has grown to 140 Holstein Friesian pedigree registered cows delivering 1.4 m gallons of mainly liquid milk to Glanbia Co-op in 2016. Victor Comments “Investing in top cow families mainly from North America and some from Europe through the purchase of embryos as the pathway to deliver progress. The herd is now a closed herd except for the purchase of select embryos.”

The herd profile reads like the “Who’s Who” of world renowned cow families. Precious, Truey, Lady, Roxy, Lulu, Vixan, Fame, Chastity, Allie, Apple Red, Hermina.The Precious family tracing back to the Paradise cow is a favourite of Victors with 46 female members registered. Crossnacole Dundee Precious EX92 is dry and on a continuous flush programme. She is a granddaughter of the Integrity Paradise cow This is a prolific family having bred two EX second calvers. She has bred six sisters calved in the herd, all scored VG 85 to 87 points. Her Daughter Crossnacole Precious Gold EX92 by Goldwyn was a class winner at the RUAS Winter Fair 2014 and National Dairy show 2013. Her other daughter Crossnacole Shottle Precious EX 92 on her 3rd lactation.She is the dam of Atwood Precious fresh on her 3rd-Classified EX second calver in 2016.

“The herd is backboned by these cow families carefully selected to deliver in terms of functionality, quality and efficiency of yields. As breeders we are well aware it is cow families that transmit generation after generation. I view cow type and functionality as critical for overall performance in allowing for genetic potential to be expressed and realised. My breeding policy is for medium sized, balanced, capacious cows with the ability to consume large volumes of roughage. 90% of the herd is now classified to VG/EX Conformation, the top two grades of the IHFA Classification scoring system

I make maximum use of grazed grass with buffer feeding for peak yield. Turnout in the spring is usually March 17th with cows out night & day by April 10th. Winter housing usually occurs in mid-October. I place high priority on making quality silage, realising its vital role in herd nutrition throughout the winter diet. The TMR fed consists of grass silage, maize silage, whole beet, brewers grains with concentrate fed to yield in the parlour”.

Exhibiting at local and national shows, National Herds Competition and participating in the Slaney and Kildare Club events brought success and recognition for the herd. The herd won the medium section in the Bord Bainne herd’s competition six times in a row and again winning the large herd section in 2006 IHFA National Herds Competition. The farm also won the Development Farmer of the Year in 1991 as well as other successes including;
• RDS Spring Show Champion
• Baileys Champion Cow
• Tullamore National Livestock Show Champion
• National Dairy Show Exhibitor Bred Champion

Find more here