The weather gods have obliged us with a very welcome spell of broken weather in the middle of last week. The rain was badly needed with grass starting to become a little scarce. Ground was incredibly hard with very little moisture about after nearly three weeks of solid fine, dry weather. Once the rain hit, temperatures stayed quite high generally, with lots of mild, warm weather, which is ideal for grass growth.
The manure was out before the rain came down so we should have plenty of grass coming along as we begin to move out of peak summer growing conditions. In the midst of all the rain, there was also some really gorgeous sunshine at the start of the week, which just goes to prove that the Irish weather will always keep you on your toes!
We travelled to the IHFA Friesian Open Day at the Mountain Herd of Michael Spillane & Family, Fethard, Co. Tipperary on Wednesday last. The herd is extremely well-known in pedigree circles with a whole host of top awards and accolades to its credit over the last few years. As British Friesian breeders ourselves, an opportunity to view one of the most prolific and successful herds in the country couldn’t be passed up and the whole event definitely lived up to expectations.
The cows were in phenomenal order with multiple EX status cows in the herd, all producing high volumes of milk and solids off a near total grass based system. The Holstein typically takes the limelight when it comes to the top levels of production so it was heartening to see a British Friesian herd holding its own in such spectacular fashion.
The celebration sale, held in conjunction with this year’s open day was a resounding success with a 100% clearance and a top price of €4600 for a 17 month old in-calf heifer. It is testament to the staying power of the breed that it can weather the storm of the continued dominance of the Holstein and still command such a premium price in the sales ring.
We’ve been exclusively British Friesian at Kilsunny for over 50 years and it seems that the commercial farmer is fast appreciating the benefits of the breed for themselves.
The Kilsunny show team travelled to two shows over the weekend, with one trailer heading off to the South East Clare Show in Bridgetown, Co. Clare and another trailer making the trip to the Ossory Show in Rathdowney, Co. Laois.
You need lots of help to be able to head in two different directions on show day but we’re in the lucky position that (almost!) the entire family enjoys the summer shows.
The double outing proved to be a huge success with team Kilsunny claiming the overall supreme Hereford championship at both shows. It’s a magnificent achievement to win a single championship; never mind two big wins on the same day at two different venues so we were beyond thrilled. Our summer season has been incredible to date and the cattle keep improving and surpassing our expectations at every show they go to this summer.
Kilsunny Lass Melissa, pictured above, one of our yearling maiden heifers took the top spot at Ossory whilst our senior show cow won top honours at Bridgetown.
Both animals were beaten at their last event at Clonmel so it just proves that you have to believe in the capabilities of your stock and keep the faith that a win is around the corner.
Every judge is different and the fluctuation in the placings from week to week is part of what keeps the whole show circuit fresh and interesting. It was our second and third championship titles of the year, after securing our first big win of the season at the Slaney Foods International Finals at Gorey in June.
We’re off to Dungarvan on Thursday so hopefully our good fortunes will continue there!
The first Hereford calf of the summer arrived safe and sound over the weekend too. We’ve another two cows on the points of calving presently and I’ll have full details and some photos of all the newborn calves for you in next week’s blog.