The Irish Holstein Friesan Association (IHFA) Open Day 2018 will be hosted by the Collins family, Oldrose Herd, in Co. Meath on July 4.
The herd was established by Leo (Snr) and Patricia in 1976 and alongside Leo (Jnr) and his wife, Aisling, they now operate a 200-cow pedigree registered herd, averaging 9,540kg with milk solids/cow at 772kg. Dairying has been the main enterprise on the farm supplying liquid milk to Drogheda Milk Producers and Glanbia.
Friesian breeding dominated during the early days and Leo was careful to select and use the top bulls in artificial insemination (AI) in order to improve the quality and production of the herd.
The switch to Holstein breeding was a decision taken quickly as Leo recognised that this new source of genetics would drive production further forward. Bulls such as Ullswater Royal Sovereign, Barold Rock Seal, Bellwood, Roylane Jordan, Bolton and Shottle were used to great effect.
A new milking parlour was built with increased cubicle accommodation, slurry storage and the yard was streamlined to aid management of a larger herd. The total area farmed is 352 acres with a milking platform of 162 acres. Cows are generally turned out to grass by mid-March, weather permitting. The winter diet for the milking cows is a mix of grass silage, fodder beet and a dairy blend. Cows are topped up with a dairy nut in the parlour, in a feed-to-yield system. All the meal fed is sourced from local supplier McAuley’s Feeds, Balrath. Calving pattern is 50 per cent autumn, 50 per cent spring. Heifers calve-in aged two years and two months on average. All replacement stock are reared on the farm.
Leo Snr and Leo Jnr are members of discussion groups. Leo Snr is a member of the Royal Meath and Leo Jnr is involved in the Evergreen Group. The herd hosted the Teagasc National Winter/Liquid Milk Conference last year. The Collins family have been mainstays of the North Eastern Club since it was founded in the late 1970s
Celebration sale featuring top cow families
A celebratory sale of 35 heifers from the top cow families in the herd will be held on the day: eleven springing heifers, 12 served heifers, 12 maiden heifers and heifer calves. The pick of the youngstock from such families as Susan, Nora, Joan, Hazel, Babs (home-bred) and Lulu, (Dalevalley), Torch, Fawn (Monamore), Polly (Windy-Knoll, Leagh) Beatrice (Galwaybay). The quality and consistency of Oldrose breeding is such that repeat customers return to source breeding stock year after year.
National Herds Competition results
The eagerly awaited results of the IHFA National Herds Competition will be announced as part of the programme of events at the Open Day. Mark Logan, Clandeboye, Northern Ireland, travelled the country to assess the herds and Greenvale Animal Feeds are sponsors.
Open Day takes place on the Collins family farm, Oldrose Herd, Balgeeth, Ardcath, Co. Meath on July 4.
Directions: On the N2 Ashbourne/Derry road, at Kilmoon cross, take the Drogheda/Duleek road (R152) and follow directional signs
Eircode: A42 HD27