The Kerry Holstein Friesian Breeders’ Club has launched its 2023 annual herds competition, which aims to promote good production and conformation in Holstein Friesian herds.
Dairymaster, international leaders in dairy equipment manufacturing, is the headline sponsor again this year.
There are two categories, spring and autumn, subdivided into senior, intermediate, junior, novice pure Friesian and new entrants’ sections, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in each category.
The competition is open to pedigree herds, and all entries are to be sent to Geraldine Harty, Herds Competition Coordinator, Ballylongane, Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry.
- Best overall cow based on KGs of protein production;
- Highest herd percentage protein;
- Lifetime production cow;
- Highest conformation herd & production herd;
- Lowest Somatic Cell Count;
- Best overall heifer, junior cow and senior cow
- Highest overall EBI herd;
- Cow families;
- A Pure Friesian class.
This year for the first time, Mick Gould of the worldwide recognised Woodmarsh Herd from Shropshire in the UK will judge the senior, intermediate and junior sections, while Sylvia Helen, Eedy Herd will oversee proceedings in the novice section, new entrants and Friesian section.
Mick is no stranger to judging, having judged at every one of the Royal Shows, including the very last English Royal Show at Stoneleigh.
His international judging career includes the International Dairy Week in Australia and the interbred championship at the Sydney Royal as well as the Irish National Holstein Show.
As previously featured on That’s Farming, Robert, Sylvia, and their son, Jason Helen, farm a 90-cow Holstein Friesian pedigree herd between Enniskeane and Clonakilty in County Cork.
In the milk quota era, Robert built the Eedy Holstein Friesian pedigree herd from twenty cows with 100,000 litres of milk to ninety cows to producing 800,000 litres last year.
“We had to expand in milk to make a reasonable living. Honestly, we were not going to survive on 20 cows and 100,000 litres of milk,” Robert Helen told That’s Farming.
“We chose Holstein Friesian because we have a relatively small land base, and the idea was to get a high output per acre.”
“The reason we went for winter milk was we got a winter milk bonus originally when we started up and to help cash flow throughout the year.”
How to apply
Causeway was “bustling with activity recently” when the club launched the competition by hosting the IHFA judges’ conference at Barron’s Agri Trading.
Individuals could learn from master judges about dairy stock to showmanship.
Official competition judging will commence on July 3rd, 2023, for Mick Gould and at an earlier June date for Sylvia Helen, with the awards ceremony held on Thursday, July 6th, 2023, at Hughes Bar, Cordal.
The club’s field evening/stock judging will take place at Sean Begley’s farm Slievrue Herd, Gurrane, Dingle, on Sunday, June 25th, 2023.
Speaking at the launch, CEO John Harty commented: “We are privileged to sponsor and support the competition again this year.”
“I admire their work ethic and wanting to try new things, being the first club to host the judges’ conference is a testament to their commitment; they must be commended.”
Leo O’Connor, chairman of the Kerry Holstein Friesian Breeders’ Club, added:
“I would like to thank Dairymaster for the work and dedication they have given to the club.”
“They are always very supportive, even providing a mobile milking unit for the judge’s conference, which is much appreciated.”
“The herd’s competition has grown significantly over the last few years, and this year we are taking it a step further with the introduction of an international judge.”
“This will bring a new and different perspective to the competition, and we are really looking forward to it,” he concluded.