Holstein NI open day raises £20,000

Pictured at Holstein NI's Open Day at Redhouse are, from left: Malcolm McLean, Relough Herd, Donaghmore; Mary Rafferty, Breffni Oriel Holstein Club; Meurig James and Murray Cochrane, Holstein UK. Picture: Julie Hazelton
Pictured at Holstein NI's Open Day at Redhouse are, from left: Malcolm McLean, Relough Herd, Donaghmore; Mary Rafferty, Breffni Oriel Holstein Club; Meurig James and Murray Cochrane, Holstein UK. Picture: Julie Hazelton

More than 1,500 visitors and trade exhibitors travelled from throughout the UK and Ireland to attend Holstein NI’s third annual open day, hosted by the Redhouse Herd based at Benburb, County Tyrone.

The event, supported by principal sponsors Dale Farm, Fane Valley Feeds and Ecosyl from Volac, has been hailed as another Holstein NI success story.

Club secretary and event organiser John Martin said: “We were delighted with the turnout at Saturday’s open day. Donations are still coming in, but I am pleased to confirm that we’ve raised in the region of £20,000 for our nominated beneficiaries.”

Holstein NI chairman Jason Booth added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the success of our family open day. We are indebted to our hosts, Ida, Alan, Sylvia, David and Heidi Irwin, for putting their farm at our disposal.

“Thanks also to our generous sponsors, and the numerous trade and craft exhibitors for their support. Finally a big thank you to the visitors, the crew from St John’s Ambulance, and the volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.”

More than 70 items were donated to the charity auction conducted by Dungannon auctioneer Trevor Wylie, and Drogheda auctioneer Michael Taaffe.

Topping the auction at 1,800gns was the seven-month-old heifer calf Redhouse 1637 Phantom Ida PLI £369. Generously donated by the Irwin family, she was sired by SSI Kingpin Phantom ET, and is bred from five generations of VG and EX dams. Her dam is Redhouse Razor Ida EX90 who averaged 11,869kgs at 4.09% butterfat and 3.09% protein in two 305-day lactations. Buyers were Dessie and Jonathan Moore from Fintona.

Ivor and Cecilia Broomfield, who hosted the club’s inaugural open day in 2016, donated the potential eleventh generation VG/EX heifer Moneyquin Unix Peach PLI £198. This one came under the hammer at 1,250gns, selling to David Liggett from Stewartstown. Born in September 2017 she is by the Amighetti Numero Uno son Croteau Lesperron Unix ET, and is bred from Moneyquin Smokin Peach VG85.

Other auction items included a framed rugby jersey signed by the Ulster players who were capped during Ireland’s Six Nations campaign; a tour of Westminster and lunch for four people; a signed and framed Ulster Jersey signed by Rory Best; a painting by Portadown artist Shirley Haffey; and various lots of semen, dairy chemicals, ruminant feeds, and children’s toys.

The winning tickets from Holstein NI’s raffle were also drawn at the event. The winners were: Signed and framed Irish rugby jersey, Richard Beattie, Dunloy; Voucher for Galgorm Resort and Spa, Jim Carty, Garrison; and Voucher for Manor House Hotel in Killadeas, Hammy Christie, Cloughmills.

Visitors to the farm, home of the 170-cow Redhouse Herd, had an opportunity to view high yielding cows, state-of-the-art LED shed lighting, enhanced cow comfort, optimal nutrition and genomically tested animals.

During the event the hosts took part in a question and answer session focusing on the daily management of the herd. This was chaired by Dr Des Rice and attracted considerable attention from the audience.

Proceeds from the open day and raffle will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Society; Yellow Ribbon NI; and the Pedigree Cattle Trust.