Loughnacon Holstein Friesian Herd – Raymond Scott & family
Caughoo, Co. Cavan
An IHFA Breffni Oriel Club herd profile
Calving in 120 cows annually, Raymond Scott’s Loughnacon pedigree registered Holstein Friesian herd is a high-output, well-managed herd, located in the Breffni county of Cavan. Since taking over the management of the family farm in 2003, Raymond has not only overcome significant challenges along the way including depopulation, but through his management skills and positive can-do attitude the herd has continued to develop and prosper. With dad David and sister Daphne actively helping out on a daily basis, there is no shortage of attention to detail and progressive management in place for this prime family dairy farm located in Ireland’s Lakeland County.
The production performance and overall quality of Loughnacon stock is such that Raymond has built up a healthy customer base who return to purchase fresh calved heifers and cows most years. The sale of stock each year contributes very positively to overall farm income. It is a creative way of adding value to the herd especially in a situation where availability to additional grazing land is a stumbling block.
98 cows were milk recorded last year. Total herd production was 0.95 million kilos of milk, 66,000kgs milk solids. Calving pattern was 30% winter, 70% spring. Overall milk recorded production average per cow was 7,191kgs milk, 513kgs milk solids (305d). There are 36 cows scored VG/EX on IHFA conformation currently in the herd. Four cows are scored Excellent (EX), who between them total 32 lactations to date, averaging eight lactations apiece – evidence of a healthy correlation between top conformation standards and durable lifetime productivity. 75% of first lactation heifers are scored Good Plus (GP) or better. Overall SCC of 54 is indicative of a healthy herd on balance.
Raymond’s preferred cow type to suit his farming system is –
“A medium-size cow with strength and width. She must have the ability to hold condition throughout lactation and have the functional traits to enable her to last for a long productive lifetime. Mature cows should have the ability to produce 7,500kgs milk and in excess of 550kgs milk solids per lactation. I am also raising the bar higher for protein%.
“Cows must continue to calve-in close to a 365-day calving interval. Bearing in mind the main diet is simply grazed grass and grass silage so I feel there is an optimum level of production to target. Complementary gains achieved elsewhere such as increased constituents, while holding milk volume will positively contribute to the bottom line.”Pedigree registration and the use of IHFA classification service are employed as helpful tools towards the success of the herd. “I’m looking to maximise the output I can garner from every acre of land. My cow type to suit this system is a durable cow who will convert the grass into a high volume of milk and milk solids, in effect, paying her way every day. The Holstein Friesian cow is the ideal cow for me.
“Having a base of good, solid cow families backed by generations of consistent performance and achieving quality of conformation to VG/EX standard gives me a good chance of garnering a value-added return from overall herd productivity with the help of an income from the sale of surplus stock. After being through the nightmare scenario of depopulation, it taught me a prime lesson in the asset appreciation of livestock.”
Raymond states “I’m very grateful to both my parents, whose hard work and selfless lifetime commitment ensured that I inherited a modern, developed farm with advanced infrastructure already in place.”AI breeding is used for the majority of the breeding season with a sweeper bull introduced towards the end as an extra aid towards heat detection. Raymond comments that daughters by AI bulls Punch (S1458) and Pepper (S2049) stand out for their consistency while youngstock by Future (FR2235) look promising. His preference is to use Daughter Proven AI sires as an aversion to lower risk bulls, however certain Genomic bulls backed by solids cow families are used from time to time.
Some members of the Loughnacon cow families include;
Loughnacon Pegase Nelly EX90
- Lifetime production average of 7,300kgs milk, 579kgs milk solids, 4.38% fat, 3.55% protein in eight lactations.
- 3rd lactation yield 7,023kgs milk, 610kgs milk solids, 4.82% fat, 3.75% protein.
- 3rd generation EX backed by EX91 dam with longevity of ten lactations. Her grand dam is Mellifont Desire Nelly EX90, IHFA Diamond Award recipient for production and conformation, who completed eleven lactations total lifetime.
She has three milking daughters
Loughnacon Corbet Nelly GP83
- 2nd lactation 7,138kgs milk, 587kgs milk solids, 4.71% fat, 3.52% protein.
Loughnacon Atlantic Nelly GP82
- 2nd lactation 7,573kgs milk, 559kgs milk solids, 3.85% fat, 3.53% protein.
Loughnacon Legend Nelly VG85
- 3rd lactation 7,142kgs milk, 533kgs milk solids, 4.11% fat, 3.36% protein.
Loughnacon Persy Nelly EX90 2E (maternal sister to Pegase Nelly EX)
- Going well in her 10th lactation – the oldest cow in the herd.
- Lifetime production of 5,000kgs milk solids to date.
Loughnacon Sisant Aline EX90
- 2nd lactation yield 8,182kgs milk, 572kgs milk solids, 3.50% fat, 3.48% protein.
- Good longevity genetics, she is in her 8th lactation and her VG dam recorded ten lactations.
Loughnacon Lodie Eve VG85
- Lifetime production average in three lactations of 11,340kgs milk, 794kgs milk solids, 3.56% fat, 3.44% protein per lactation.
- Her grand dam is Kilskyre Celsius Eve EX90, with lifetime longevity of nine lactations.
Loughnacon Sistant Maureen VG85
- 2nd lactation yield 6,155kgs milk, 523kgs milk solids, 4.81% fat, 3.68% protein.
She has two VG milking daughters
- Loughnacon Tandem Maureen VG85 3rd lactation 7,505kgs milk, 563kgs milk solids, 4.02% fat, 3.49% protein.
- Loughnacon Atlantic Maureen VG85. Two consecutive 8,000 kgs lactations. Her VG85 daughter by Hagley recorded over 7,100 kgs milk in her first lactation.
Loughnacon Louson Wallen VG85
- 4th lactation yield 8,112kgs milk, 623kgs milk solids, 4.26% fat, 3.41% protein.
- She completes three generations of VG dams.
Loughnacon Sistant Blaze VG89
- 4th Lactation yield 8,753kgs milk, 632kgs milk solids, 3.67% fat, 3.55% protein.
- She has completed seven lactations in six years having calved twice in 2014.
Loughnacon Laurel Delight EX90 4E
- 3rd generation home-bred Excellent. Great functional durability cow family with the three generations of EX dams averaging seven lactations lifetime longevity.
Loughnacon Wis-Red Delight 22 VG88
- In her 7th lactation with strong fertility having regular calving intervals, consistent with 365-day pattern.
- Traces back to foundation cow Kilskyre Bellwood Delight EX91 4E with a lifetime longevity of ten lactations.
Loughnacon Neon Delight VG88
- Three consecutive lactations surpassing 8,000kgs milk production.
- Exemplifies consistency of production and longevity with her VG88 9th lactation dam still going strong in the herd.
Loughnacon Persistant Inez VG88
- 2nd lactation yield 7,188kgs milk, 533kgs milk solids, 3.91% fat, 3.51% protein.
Loughnacon Persy Azalea VG87
- In her 9th lactation in nine years with six lactations surpassing 7,500kgs milk/lactation.
- She has bred a VG85 daughter by Punch who recorded 7,800kgs milk, 550kgs milk solids in her 2nd lactation.
Loughnacon Mr Sam Lilly VG88
- 6th lactation yield 6,476kgs milk, 575kgs milk solids, 5.11% fat, 3.77% protein.
- Consistent high fat deviations with over 5.00% fat recorded in three lactations to date.
The onerous task of re-establishing a herd following depopulation was a challenge aided greatly by IHFA Field Officer Bobby Franks, to whom Raymond is very grateful for his insightful and wise assistance.
Raymond is careful to utilise grazed grass to its maximum, recognising its vital role in the diet of the cows as an excellent energy source and driver to help improve protein%. Typically, cows are turned out to grass late March, most years, with every effort to maintain days at grass throughout the year until ground conditions dictate housing indoors. Quality grass silage, carefully conserved during surplus growth is the main diet throughout winter supplemented with a balanced and complimentary ration to optimise performance.
“It’s an enjoyable outlet which gives you a chance to get away from the farm from time to time” is how Raymond light-heartedly describes the local Breffni Oriel Club for Holstein Friesian breeders in the Cavan Monaghan locality. Recognition of the high-quality breeding of the Loughnacon herd is such that Raymond was awarded 3rd place on Inspection in his section in the club herds competition last year.
“The field evenings are always enjoyable. It’s so pleasant to spend a fine summer’s evening judging stock, admiring and learning from similar herds locally and being in good company. I was delighted to be invited by the club to be a field evening host this year. I have to say the club tours have been great, travel always broadens the mind and you come back home afterwards with a refreshed outlook and perspective.”
(First published in 2020)