Strong Cow Families at the Heart of Longevity

Garrymore Herd milking 4 generations of the same cow family

Breeding Achievement for the Grennan family partnership who graded up their herd in 2016

The Grennan family farming partnership of parents John Joe and Angela, and their sons Barry and Colin milk an 80-cow spring calving pedigree registered Holstein Friesian herd under the Garrymore prefix. The farm is located near Mountmellick in Co. Laois, straddling the county border with Offaly in close proximity to the N80 Tullamore – Portlaoise main road. 

Eldest son Barry is a qualified secondary school teacher and he teaches in the nearby Mountmellick Community School. Youngest son, Colin, is currently pursuing a degree in Agricultural Science, studying at the Institute of Technology, Tralee in Co. Kerry.With a multi-generational passion for dairy farming and ambitious for a bright farming future, the family formed a partnership. It was a pro-active step and the experience so far has been positive, allowing the farm to develop further while Barry and Colin align their professional careers with an active involvement on the farm. 

The brothers enjoy dairy farming immensely. The Grennans graded-up their herd to pedigree status with IHFA in 2016. Grading up was an important pillar of herd development, unlocking in-built added value from Holstein Friesian breeding records accumulated over many years. It also complimented the strategy of building ahead for the future.The Grennan family avail of IHFA Classification as a valued independent benchmark assessment of the herd. The service provides an objective linear-based analysis of cow conformation. Twenty-two structural traits and five overall composites, including legs & feet and udder, are scored on a standardised scale. 

“We aim to breed a balanced, functional Holstein Friesian cow, having good yields of milk and milk solids with strong fertility,” comments Barry, “It’s a spring-calving herd, supplying manufacturing milk so cows must calve regularly every year. IHFA conformation classification service helps keep the herd uniform for functionality, particularly legs & feet and udders”. During the recent annual conformation classification visit for the herd, four members of the same cow family were presented for scoring. This is a highly commendable feat, speaking volumes for the quality within the Garrymore herd and the consistency of Holstein Friesian cow families recorded in the IHFA herdbook. 

The family are registered as the Crouch family. Barry explains the rationale behind this name choice.“We gave number 373 the name of Crouch because even as a young calf she always stood head and shoulders over and above all the others! The name suited.” 

Garrymore DEU Crouch 373 aka Crouch, now in her 10th lactation, aged twelve years old and classified VG88 on conformation, is the matriarch. Her daughter, grand-daughter and great granddaughter are all high performers in the herd. The fact that all four are classified within the top two grades of conformation merit, underlines the impressive functionality for longevity credentials.

Garrymore DEU Crouch 373 VG88

  •       The matriarch of the Crouch family
  •       Born in March 2009 she calved-in on her 10th lactation on March 5th this year – 10 lactations in the past 10 years
  •       Despite losing one quarter she is still a high performer in the herd, milking strongly with a very determined nature. Colin states “She is the leader of the herd and is always first into the parlour for every milking”.
  •       Recorded 7,081kgs milk, 510kgs milk solids, 3.78% fat, 3.42% protein (302 days) in her 9th lactation
  •       Transmitting longevity to her offspring with a VG87 six lactation daughter and an EX90 six lactation granddaughter milking in the herd

Garrymore TJF Crouch 552 VG87 (Generation 2)

  •       7,258kgs milk, 575kgs milk solids, 4.20% fat, 3.72% protein in her 5th lactation (306 days)
  •       Great fertility performance – she has calved in the month of February, every year, the past six years in a row
  •       She ranks as one of the top cows in the herd with an attributed milk value per lactation last year of over €2,600
  •       A balanced profile of conformation scores; VG89 Body, VG88 Rump, VG88 legs & feet 

Garrymore LWR Crouch 665 VG85 (Generation 3)

  •       3rd generation home bred VG dam
  •       5,539kgs milk, 411kgs milk solids, 3.97% fat, 3.45% protein in her 2nd lactation (240 days)

Garrymore Leon Crouch 788 GP81 (Generation 4)

  •       The youngest in-milk member of the family, she calved in aged less than 24 months of age
  •       Classified GP81 (Good Plus), a highly satisfactory 1st lactation score which bodes well for future maturity & development

Further informative performance data on the family;

Gen. Cow Name Parity Liveweight (kgs) June Milk Recorded Yield (litres/day)
1 Garrymore DEU Crouch VG88 10 628 28
2 Garrymore TJF Crouch 552 VG87 6 626 34
3 Garrymore LWR Crouch 665 VG85 3 456 37
4 Garrymore Leon Crouch 788 GP81 1 518 27

 Decisions based on data

In addition to the use of IHFA Herdbook registration and classification scoring, the herd is also a participant in the Green Breed programme. Barry states “The more information and data that you have available on the herd the more informed decisions regarding herd management can be made”.

Farming in Harmony with Nature

A holistic approach to farming in harmony with nature is practised. Data from the Green Breed programme helps highlight herd efficiency performance. A solar powered water pump was recently installed as a key infrastructure investment to reduce energy usage. Bird and bat boxes are installed all around the farm. Also, the hedges on the farm are only trimmed once every three years in yet another pro-active step.   


Longevity and maturity of yield is a strong feature in the Garrymore herd. Cows 4th lactation and older made up 30% of the herd last year and the average yield for these mature cows was 7,016kgs milk, 518kgs milk solids, 3.95% fat, 3.43% protein (290 days). An average calving interval of 366 days is testament to strong fertility performance. Meal feeding averaged 0.8 tonne/cow last year.