This week has been quite tricky with very bad weather all week, alongside some particularly heavy and prolonged rain showers and some chilly nights. Land is holding up well but thereâs damage around the water troughs and the gaps already. Weâre still strip-grazing the dairy cows but that will have to be re-assessed if the poor weather conditions continue for much longer.
Thankfully, it looks like things are going to improve from mid-week onwards. Itâs mind-blowing how quickly the weather can turn; lots of farmers around us were all doing silage just last week in the midst of some really glorious sunshine. Hopefully, it can all turn back again for the better, just as quickly.
The dairy herd was recently named as one of the final six selections in the British Friesian category of the annual National Irish Holstein Friesian Association herd of the year competition and the master judge inspected and judged our cows last Tuesday.
It was a pretty wet day so the cows werenât looking their absolute best but Iâm sure all herds participating in the competition last week were in the same boat. It is the first time we have ever qualified for the finals of the national herds competition and it was a terrific honour to have made the shortlist this year. Pedigree dairy stock have been registered under the Kilsunny prefix since 1981 and itâs exciting to be breaking new ground with the dairy herd over 35 years later.
Both production and inspection scores will be taken into account for the final adjudication and the winners will be announced at the IHFA National Open Day at the Crossnacole Holstein herd, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow on July 6th. I try to attend the open day every year and this yearâs event promises to add a little bit of extra anticipation and excitement as the winners are revealed. The other finalists are being kept in strict secrecy for now so we have no clue which herds are in opposition to us.
With only six finalists in our category across the entire country, you can bet that they are very well distinguished and prolific herds themselves. Hopefully things will go well on the day but itâs no small feat to be in contention for a big, national title so Iâm sure all at Kilsunny will be (relatively!) happy regardless of the final outcome.
We also sold and delivered two pedigree maiden Hereford heifers over the weekend. Both of these heifers were born in the Spring of 2016 and both were sold to a newly established pedigree herd in Youghal, Co. Cork. The two heifers belonged to our well-known Lass cow family; one of them is a five star replacement index heifer and the other heifer is a daughter of our 2012 Reserve National All-Ireland Heifer of the Year, Kilsunny Lass Isobel. Our Lass family has enjoyed tremendous success on both the show and sale circuit and female offspring from this particular line is always well sought after. The recent sale of these two heifers follows on from the export of Kilsunny Lass Molly to Northern Ireland earlier in the year and the sale of our show calf, Kilsunny Lass Millie last Autumn.
Kilsunny Lass Mabel, one of the heifers sold off farm this week
As we try to keep suckler cow numbers around the 15 cow mark, we have to sell a certain number of heifers each season anyway but itâs a brilliant endorsement for our stock to have such steady demand for breeding females throughout the year. Weâll be focusing on the summer shows for the next few weeks but we do hope to have another two heifers ready for the Irish Hereford Premier Autumn sale in Tullamore, this coming October.
This week, weâll be making a welcome return to the summer showing circuit with five Herefords heading off to the Slaney Foods International Hereford finals at Gorey Show on Saturday (June 17th). Check back with me next week to find out how the Kilsunny show team gets on!