Hundreds attend Holstein celebrations

Pictured at the Holstein Celebration are from left: Richard Jones, chief executive, Holstein UK; Padraig O'Kane, Trioliet, sponsor; host Alan Wallace, Antrim; David Perry, president, Holstein UK; Gavin Connaughty and Sean Reid, Cookstown Dairy Services, sponsor. Picture: David Devennie Photography
Pictured at the Holstein Celebration are from left: Richard Jones, chief executive, Holstein UK; Padraig O'Kane, Trioliet, sponsor; host Alan Wallace, Antrim; David Perry, president, Holstein UK; Gavin Connaughty and Sean Reid, Cookstown Dairy Services, sponsor. Picture: David Devennie Photography

The recent Holstein Celebration and AGM in Northern Ireland has been hailed a resounding success.

The two-day event attracted hundreds of visitors from throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and marked David Perry’s election as Holstein UK president.

Holstein UK is the largest independent breed society in Europe and has a history spanning more than 100 years. David Perry from the noted Killane Herd in Ahoghill is the third local breeder to hold this highly esteemed position. He follows in the footsteps of the late Sam Wilson, and Wilbert Rankin from Templepatrick.

Tommy Henry, chairman Holstein NI, said: “The Holstein Celebration was a huge success, and I would like to extend my congratulations to David, and his wife Beatrice, as they embark on their presidential duties over the next twelve months. Holstein NI is proud of David’s achievements and he is a great ambassador for the breed.”

Mr Henry continued: “We were delighted to welcome visitors from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and as a club we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and compliments received since the event. From the outset we wanted to showcase the best that Northern Ireland has to offer in terms of our farms, Holstein cattle, locally produced food and drink, and scenery.

“Thanks to our organising committee, host farms, sponsors and the Galgorm Resort and Spa we were able to pull out all the stops to give our visitors a memorable two-day trip.”

Northern Ireland’s Holstein Celebration kicked off with a visit to the Wallace family’s 250-cow Abercorn Herd near Antrim. Managed on a daily basis by Alan, and his father David, the farm is synonymous for award-winning grass silage, alternative forages and grassland management. It produces 3,640 litres of milk from forage. Annual milk sales are 9,211 litres per cow at 4.04% butterfat and 3.24% protein with a calving interval of 398 days.

Later in the afternoon the McCann family welcomed the visitors to their noted 180-cow Simlahill Herd near Bangor. Nicholas McCann, and his father Jim, own one of the top classified herds in the UK, and received Holstein UK’s Master Breeder award in 2014. The herd is currently averaging 10,782 litres at 3.94% butterfat and 3.21% protein, with 3,015 litres of milk produced from forage.

The results of Holstein NI’s annual herds inspection competition, sponsored by Ulster Bank, were announced during the afternoon visit. The McCann family were triumphant, winning the award for the best overall herd for the fourth time.

Holstein NI secretary John Martin: “The Holstein Celebration was the culmination of many months of planning. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the event, especially the Wallace and McCann families for their excellent hospitality. The visitors were full of praise for both farms and their respective pedigree herds.”

The second day was spent touring the north Antrim coast and included visits to the Bushmills Distillery and the Giants Causeway, stopping off at the Dark Hedges near Stranocum.

The climax of the event was the Gala dinner in Galgorm’s Great Hall attended by almost 300 people.

Mr Henry concluded: “A big thank you to the local businesses who supported adverts in the herd brochures. On behalf of Holstein NI I would also like to thank our sponsors, Cookstown Dairy Services and Trioliet, for their generous financial support.

“Thanks also to Dale Farm for supplying a variety of locally-produced cheese for the Irish-themed evening. Finally, I’d like to thank McMasters for catering for more than 400 people during the Simlahill visit, and to Clandeboye Estate and Lakeland Dairies for providing yoghurt and ice-cream.”