IHFA farm walk this Friday to highlight 7 ‘focus farmers’

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IHFA farm walk this Friday to highlight 7 'focus farmers'

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) is hosting a farm walk in Co. Laois (R32HF74) this Friday (September 15), where it will highlight the IHFA ‘focus farmers’ of 2023.

The Focus Farm project was designed to spotlight the diverse farmers that make up the IHFA and celebrate their excellent herds and ways of farming.

The farms range from 60 to 180 cows, with production from 5,000L to 10,000L. Herds vary from purebred Holstein Friesian to newly established Pure Friesian herds.

IHFA farm walk

The farm walk will consist of a number of demonstration stations featuring IHFA’s seven focus farmers, who will share their farming experiences and expertise.

The seven IHFA Focus Farmers of 2023 are:

  • Robert Shannon: 80 cows in Co. Cork, focused on economic breeding index (EBI) and high solids production;
  • John Galvin: 85 cows in Co. Kerry, has improved the herd steadiness over the years;
  • Kevin Flynn: 180-strong pedigreed cows, built to last (average parity four);
  • Farrell Scully: 55-strong herd in Co. Sligo, solid, robust, trouble-free herd with a somatic cell count (SCC) <100;
  • Patrick Pentony: 70 cows in Co. Louth, herd graded up to pedigree status which made huge genetics and production gains;
  • Gearoid Maker: 100 Pure Friesians thriving on marginal land with sustainability at core of amring;
  • Paudie Brennan: 110 cows in partnership with his son Sean – the next generation of Ireland’s dairy farmers.

IHFA staff will also be on hand to answer any questions around achieving pedigree status and the benefits of IHFA membership.

Through grading up, any milk recording herd can achieve pedigree status which is a huge benefit for genetic gain and optimizing your herd.

The farm walk will take place on Kevin Flynn’s farm in Clonaslee, Co. Laois (R32HF74) on September 15, at midday.

Kevin’s herd, the Reary herd, was established in 1974. Uniformity is clear to see across the 200 head split-calving herd; all animals are robust, with good mobility, of relatively large but manageable frame, and are able to thrive in a slightly larger herd setting.

Kevin has streamlined the number of bulls used on the farm in this quest for uniformity.

Average parity currently stands at 3.9 and 49 animals are on their seventh lactation or greater, up to an astonishing 13 lactations for Reary Norah 140 EX90 6E.

When making breeding decisions Kevin would focus on linear traits primarily; EBI is something that is a factor in breeding decisions but isn’t paramount.

If you’re interested in attending the farm walk on Kevin’s farm this Friday (September 15) contact Laurence Feeney on; 086 827 0714, or Rachel White on; 087 068 3908.


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