Holstein NI holds 23rd AGM
and live on Freeview channel 276
Outgoing chairman Alex Walker welcomed members, guest speaker Mark Nutsford from the Riverdane Herd in England, and AGM sponsor David Patterson from Dairy Herd Management.
Club secretary/treasurer John Martin delivered the club’s financial report.
The Club Award was presented to George Smyton from Fivemiletown. George has a long association with the club, and for more than 30 years has been ‘part of the furniture’ at on-farm sales, and monthly shows and sales conducted by the late Willie Wilson (RA Noble and Co) at Moira, and more recently Taaffe Auctions at Dungannon.
Presenting the award, outgoing chairman Alex Walker paid tribute to George Smyton’s commitment.
Alex said: “George is a familiar face to many, and has made numerous friends over the years. He has been ever-present at Holstein shows, calf shows and sales, and nothing is too much trouble. I am honoured to ask our president, David Perry, to present the Club Award to George, in appreciation of the service and dedication he has so willingly given. Congratulations George!”
George Smyton thanked the club for the invitation to attend the AGM.
“I am very grateful to Holstein NI for this award. It was totally unexpected,” he said.
George reminisced about his years of involvement at Holstein sales throughout the country, and shared some of his most memorable moments with the audience.
Prizes were presented to club members who exhibited breed champions at agricultural shows throughout 2022. Announcing the winners, John Martin gave a special mention to George and Jason Booth from Stewartstown, who won four supreme Holstein championships with four individual cows.
The winners were:
Balmoral – Peak Chief Fran, Cyril and Martin Millar.
Ballymena – Damm Fitz Beth, George and David Simpson.
Ballymoney – Priestland 5446 Shot J Rose, Iain McLean and family.
Armagh – Sterndale Fitzlambda Airy, George and Jason Booth.
Omagh – Beechview Blarney Mogul Polly, George and Jason Booth.
Castlewellan – Annaghmore Fitz Atlee, Clive and Joel Richardson.
Limavady – Erie Denver SV Maude, Stephen Watterson.
Antrim – Beechview Doorman Bridget, George and Jason Booth.
Clogher – Wyevalley Sidekick Barb, George and Jason Booth.
During the chairman’s report, Alex Walker asked members to observe a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to members who had passed away, and families who had suffered a bereavement, in the last 12 months.
He also praised the NI Holstein Young Breeders’ Club, describing it as a fast-growing organisation which has had another exceptional year under the leadership of co-ordinators Andrew Patton and Jessica Hall.
Thanks were also conveyed to the judges, stewards, competitors and sponsors, who contributed to the success of the Herds Inspection Competition. It was won by the Ards prefix owned by Wilson, Karen and Andrew Patton, Newtownards.
Alex Walker also congratulated Sam McCormick and family from Bangor, on winning the Bailey’s Diary Cow Championship at Virginia Show.
Holstein UK’s Master Breeder Awards included three local recipients – McLean family (Priestland); W, L and D Campbell (Ballylagan); JS Armstrong (Coolnagrane).
Alex Walker continued by congratulating club members who featured in the All-Britain Awards. They included: George and David Simpson, Damm Tattoo Sally, hon mention intermediate 2yro; Tommy and Mark Henry, Spruce Grove Slater Peggy, hon mention senior 2yro; Sam and John McCormick, Hilltara Undenied Apple, hon mention junior 3yro; and Alan and Leanne Paul, Slatabogie Doral All Rich Red, res champion junior red and white heifer.
The sales at Dungannon and Kilrea have also attracted a strong demand for pedigree females and bulls, and the club is indebted to its numerous sponsors for their ongoing support.
Alex Walker thanked retiring committee members Alan Irwin (Redhouse), James Stewart (Ballyskeagh), Jonny Matthews (Lisnasure) and Malcolm McLean (Relough), for their time and contribution.
He also thanked Wallace Gregg (Frocess) for representing the club on the HUK board, and wished him well for his incoming role as society chairman.
Concluding, Alex Walker thanked John Martin for his continued commitment to the smooth running of the club; Julie Wallace for her PR role in keeping the club to the fore in the press and on social media; and president David Perry for his support throughout the year.
The election of office bearers and committee members was conducted by David Patterson from Dairy Herd Management. He congratulated Holstein NI on another successful year.
John Martin was unanimously re-elected as the club’s secretary and treasurer, a position he has held for 25 years.
New elected office-bearers include: Chairman – Jonny Lyons, Coleraine (Skerryview); Vice-Chairman – Paul Dunn, Bangor (Dunbanard).
Committee (three-year term): Nicholas McCann, Bangor (Simlahill); Mark Logan, Bangor (Clandevboye); Alan Paul, Maghera (Slatabogie); Stuart Smith, Londonderry (Prehen); and David Simpson, Lisburn (Damm).
Guest speaker for the evening was Mark Nutsford from the renowned Riverdane Herd based in Cheshire. His presentation was entitled ‘Life and Times of a Wannabe Dairy Farmer’.
Mark started his career working on a farm, and completed an HND in dairy herd management at Reaseheath College. Over the years he worked on a number of farms in England and Saudi Arabia, gaining experience and developing a passion and knowledge for dairy cattle, pedigree genetics and embryo transfer.
Mark has travelled throughout Canada and USA, buying, selling and importing embryos and calves, from top bulls and international cow families. He has shown prize winning cattle throughout the world, and worked with numerous record-breaking animals.
Today, Mark, wife Sue, and their daughter Jodie farm over 450 acres and manage a herd of 230 cows. Three years ago they re-invested in the farm, ugrading the dairy unit to include a 20:20 GEA parlour and robots. The modern facility is open plan, and features sand bedded cubicles, automatic scrapers and climate control.
The Riverdane Herd is set to host the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ sale at Ravenscroft Hall Farm on Saturday 19 August. The sale will include 150 head, including some very special individual females.