PATTERSON ELECTED AS CLUB CHAIRMAN:
Holstein NI hosts 11th annual general meeting in Moira
Holstein NI hosted its 11th annual general meeting in Moira at the end of March.
Outgoing chairman, Phillip Haffey, owner of the Glasson herd based at Portadown, welcomed everyone and said he was delighted to see such a large turnout of members.
A special welcome was given to guest speaker, John Loftus, and daughter Alison, who run the noted Weeton herd based at Preese Hall Farm, Lancashire; sponsor, Brian Hunter, producer services manager, United Dairy Farmers; and Gary Watson of United Milk Records.
Phillip Haffey gave a resume of club’s activities throughout the year which kicked off in May with the annual stockjudging competition, hosted by Gaston and John Wallace of the Printshop Herd, Nutt’s Corner.
In June club members enjoyed a day trip to Drogheda to the IHFA’s farm walk at Tom Kelly’s Monamore Herd. Junior, intermediate and senior teams savoured success in the stockjudging competition, and individual club members also came to the fore in the prize list.
The club’s annual herd competition, sponsored by Ulster Bank, also took place in June. The competition attracted an increased number of entries which were placed by Fred Duncan, Crumlin, and Bev Baker, Monmouthshire.
Phillip Haffey said: "One of the highlights of the year was the great farm walk at the Hilltara Herd, hosted by Sam McCormick and family, Bangor. Visitors had an opportunity to see the new dairy unit and a fantastic herd of cows. Yet again, Hilltara won the premier herd award, and was runner-up in Holstein UK’s national competition. Well done!”
Mr Haffey also congratulated the Holstein Young Breeders’ Club, which is headed up by co-ordinator Mrs Hilary Wilson from Newtownabbey. “ HYB members have had many recent successes. Thanks also to Ashley Fleming and Beattie Lilburn for all their guidance, and to the club members who have hosted HYB judging practices, David Wilson, Iain McLean and Wilson and Wallace Patton.”
He added: “The main highlight of 2009 was of course the Centenary Causeway Classic. It’s a long time since the Holstein breed was promoted in such a big fashion. The classes were big but there was quality and quantity in abundance.
“The Causeway Classic sale created a buzz – something we hadn’t experienced before. Prices peaked at 20,000gns, setting a new European record for an unborn heifer calf, and the live lots on offer sold to average £3,350 each.” Mr Haffey praised all those who had contributed to the success of the event, especially Gaston Wallace and John Martin.
The club dinner was held in the Dunadry Hotel, and special guests were society president, Phillip Davies, and his wife, Sue, from Wales. Mrs Davies presented the awards, and everyone enjoyed the craic which included a poet, an auction and a table quiz.
Phillip Haffey also thanked the office bearers and committee members for their help and assistance throughout the year, and said it was a pleasure to have been chairman in the Centenary year. He concluded by thanking the stewards, judges, auctioneers, and sponsors for their dedication to Holstein NI.
Club secretary and treasurer, John Martin, reported on the club’s financial status.
The election of office bearers for the incoming year was conducted by Brian Hunter, producer services manager, United Dairy Farmers – sponsors of the AGM.
Brian Hunter congratulated the club on another successful year. “I would like to congratulate the prize winners. Holstein NI must be praised for its strong youth section – this should be encouraged as these young members are the future of the club.”
Mr Hunter also introduced Gary Watson from United Milk Records. “Gary has a good pedigree, and boasts a wealth of knowledge of the dairy industry. We have recently introduced herd health testing as part of our milk recording system, and we are keen to get producers involved.”
Newly elected office bearers include: Chairman, John Patterson, Ballyginniff Herd, Crumlin; Vice-chairman, Alan Cleland, Lecale Herd, Downpatrick; Secretary and treasurer, John Martin, Kesh; HYB co-ordinator, Mrs Hilary Wilson, Gravelhill Herd, Newtownabbey.
Five new committee members were elected to serve for a three-year term. They include: Iain McLean, Priestland Herd, Bushmills; Gaston Wallace, Printshop Herd, Nutt’s Corner, Crumlin; Beattie Lilburn, Hillcrest Herd, Dromore; David Perry, Killane Herd, Ahoghill; and Jay Warden, Ballygrainey Herd, Bangor.
The club’s special award for outstanding service during the past year was presented to joint recipients, Phillip Haffey, Portadown, and John Martin, Kesh.
Belleek awards for the supreme champions at the Provincial agricultural shows in 2009 were presented to the following members: David Wilson, Gravehill Herd, Newtownabbey, (Ballymena and Lurgan Show); Morrell McCollum, Boghill Herd, Coleraine, (Ballymoney and Antrim Show); Ivan and Louise Robinson, Ravara Herd, Ballygowan, (Armagh, Enniskillen and Castlewellan Show); Sam and John McCormick, Hilltara Herd, Bangor, (Saintfield Show); Jim Morrison, Inch Herd, Downpatrick, (Newry Show); John Patterson, Ballyginniff Herd, Crumlin, (Omagh and Clogher Show).
Guest speaker John Loftus is no stranger to the Province. “It is an honour to be back in Northern Ireland, for what will be my last Holstein talk,” explained Mr Loftus who dispersed his highly acclaimed Weeton Herd in April 2010.
“I sold my first bull to a breeder in Northern Ireland when I was just 17, and over the past 43 years I have sold numerous cattle to local breeders.”
Mr Loftus told the audience that he learned a lot about breeding cattle from his mother. “My mother’s policy was to sell the best, but keep the very best!” He gave a summary of the Weeton herd’s history, including show and sale successes. His power point presentation included photographs of Friesian cows dating back to the 1950s, as well as a selection of recent photographs featuring cow families which will be included in the dispersal sale.
Mr Loftus imported his first Holsteins from Canada in the early 1980s. “Dairy cows in Britain were in a time warp, whereas the Holsteins in Canada and America had more milk, size and frame. I decided to use Holstein across the whole herd, and imported two Elevation sons from Canada, one of which was Oakridges Gallant. Throughout his address Mr Loftus urged breeders to opt for strength and power when making breeding decisions.
Newly elected vice-chairman, Alan Cleland, thanked Mr Loftus for attending the AGM. “It is a privilege to listen to a man with such great wisdom, knowledge and forthright views.”