April 2013: Successful year recalled at Holstein club’s AGM
Members of Holstein Northern Ireland met in Moira earlier this week for the club’s 14th annual general meeting.
Outgoing chairman Jay Warden welcomed everyone, and extended a warm welcome to guest speaker Izzy Whittaker, editor of Holstein UKs bi-monthly publication The Journal, and sponsor Gary Watson, producer services manager of Dairy Herd Management.
During the chairman’s report Jay Warden outlined many of the club’s successful and well-supported activities throughout the year, including the herds competition awards evening and BBQ held at Clandeboye Estate, the club judging day hosted by the McLean family’s Priestland Herd at Bushmills, and more recently the club’s trip to the European Holstein Show in Switzerland.
“It doesn’t seem like a year since the club’s last AGM, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chairman. It has been another successful year, especially for members of the HYB who picked up numerous accolades both locally and nationally, under the leadership of Jonny Lyons.
“Pedigree cattle have sold well at our shows and sales, and although trade didn’t quite reach the highs of last year, bulls and heifers continued to attract a strong demand especially in the current financial climate. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the annual herds inspection competition, and well done to Nicholas McCann who won the premier award.
Jay Warden continued: “Numbers at this year’s Irish National Holstein Show were disappointing, but the quality was excellent in all classes. Well done to Sam and John McCormick who won the supreme championship title with Hilltara Zenith Echo EX93.
Concluding he added:”Thanks to the committee for its support over the past 12 months, and to the judges, stewards and sponsors, without who our events would not be possible. I would like to wish the club all the best for the future.”
Club secretary and treasurer John Martin delivered the club’s annual report and accounts, which showed a healthy financial situation. He added:”I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our valued sponsors. We as a club could not survive without their continued support.”
Awards for the supreme champions at Provincial agricultural shows in 2012 were presented to the following members: Sam and John McCormick, Hilltara Herd, Bangor (Balmoral, Ballymena and Saintfield); Iain and Joyce McLean and Family, Priestland Herd, Bushmills, (Ballymoney and Clogher); Jim Morrison and Sons, Inch Herd, Downpatrick, (Lurgan); Gavin O’Hagan, Mayobridge, (Newry); Seamus Gunn, Ernevale Herd, Derrylin (Armagh and Enniskillen); Trevor Keatley, Aghyaran Herd, Castlederg, (Omagh); Mark Logan, Clandeboye Estate, Bangor (Antrim and Castlewellan); and Norman McCollum, Bellemont Herd, Coleraine, (Limavady).
Holstein NI presents a special award annually, in recognition of outstanding service and commitment to the club. This year’s award was presented to former chairman and retiring committee member Alan Cleland from Downpatrick.
John Martin said: “Alan has served us well over the past four or five years since joining the committee and during his time as chairman. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the club during the TB compensation consultation period, and has played a pivotal role on the board of Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland.
The election of office bearers was conducted by Gary Watson from Dairy Herd Management. He congratulated the club on another successful year, and outlined the success of the United Dairy Farmers service since it was re-branded three years ago.
“Since Dairy Herd Management was set up we have attracted 130 new herds, and we have 275 herds participating in quarterly bulk tank testing for prevalent diseases such as Johnes, IBR and BVD. We have also noticed a huge increase in the demand for whole herd testing.
More than fifty per cent of our customers are now accessing their results on-line, and we have been providing IT training courses to help customers improve their computer skills. We have also been running a series of udder health workshops, and more recently launched a new mobile phone App.
Gary Watson added:”We can now offer bulk tank testing for liver fluke, and our Total Herd Recording package offers breeders a discounted milk recording and registration service, while Holstein Complete includes milking recording, registrations and annual herd classification costs.
“Heatime Horizon is a new Ariel-based system which monitors cow activity to detect oestrus. It is working well on farms and we have receiving positive customer feedback.”
Office bearers for 2013/14 include: Chairman, Sam McCormick, Hilltara Herd, Bangor; Vice-chairman, Gaston Wallace, Printshop Herd, Nutt’s Corner; Secretary and Treasurer, John Martin, Kesh; HYB co-ordinator, Jonny Lyons, Skerryview Herd, Coleraine; and PRO, Julie Wallace, Antrim.
Five new committee members were elected to serve for a three-year term. They include: John Patterson, Ballyginniff Herd, Crumlin; Andrew Kennedy, Maineview Herd, Ballymena; Wallace Gregg, Frocess Herd, Glarryford; Kyle Henry, Crankey Herd, Jerretspass; and Moore McCurdy, Springsfarm Herd, Bushmills.
Guest speaker for the evening was enthusiastic Holstein Young Breeders’ Club member Izzy Whittaker from the noted 170-cow Knowlesmere Herd in Shropshire. She joined Holstein UK in February 2012 as editor of the Journal – a publication which distributes over 6,400 copies every other month throughout the UK and Europe, and to countries as far afield as Japan and Kenya.
“Thanks to Holstein NI for its kind invitation. The HYB has been a massive part of my life since an early age, and it has opened so many doors and given me many excellent opportunities and great memories over the years. The HYB has over 2,000 members UK-wide, and is a great platform for bringing together like-minded people to participate at events, competition and exchange visits.”
Having graduated with a BA Honours Degree in Business from Leeds University, Izzy embarked on a career in marketing, employed by Cogent UK based in Chester.
She joined The Journal last year, and has been responsible for editing seven issues. “I am starting to find my feet with it now, and in recent months I have set about trying to modernise the publication to make it more appealing. The readership is quite diverse, ranging from breeders with 40 cows to over 1,000 cows, but the common link is pedigree status.
“The front cover has been tweaked and re-designed, and I have added a new column entitled ‘Ask the Expert’ which has featured various topics such as hoof health and genomics.
Izzy continued: ”I have really enjoyed the job so far, as it has given me an opportunity to visit numerous farms, see some great cows and amazing systems. “ Her presentation gave members an insight into the team and what goes on behind the scenes to produce The Journal.
Izzy also touched on the various services offered by Holstein UK, including Webmate –a new on-line mating programme which uses linear information produced by the classifiers to allow breeders to select suitable sires depending on their traits. The system recommends three bulls for the farmer to choose from.
Newly elected vice-chairman Gaston Wallace thanked Izzy for her very interesting and informative presentation. He also thanked Gary Watson for conducting the election of office bearers, and for sponsorship of the AGM.