2015-07-15   facebooktwitterrss

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association National Open Day

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) National Open Day was held on the 8th July 2015 on the Hannan family farm Lisnalty, Friarstown, Crecora, Co. Limerick.

This was a triple celebration in that the Association was celebrating its Golden Jubilee, the Lisnalty herd was celebrating 50 years since its establishment and Jimmy and Marie Hannan who founded the herd were celebrating 50 years of marriage bliss.

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association National Open Day

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association National Open Day

The herd is now managed by their son Paul with his brother John managing the beef and suckler unit.

When it comes to writing the history of IHFA no doubt the Jubilee anniversary celebratory National Open day will be recalled in the annals of the times.

A large crowd well in excess of 4,000 were in attendance with dairy farmers travelling from every corner of the country, Northern Ireland and Britain.

The atmosphere was electric with a great sense of excitement amongst dairy farmers that they now have freedom to milk and expand their herds with the abolition of milk quotas. The mood was quite uplifting despite the downward pressure on milk prices. The evidence for this was recognised in the sales ring when the cream of the Lisnalty young stock sold for an average of €3,000.

The general crowd were awe struck at the beautiful setting and general neat layout of paddocks, farm roadways and the yard which looked splendid. The day held out dry despite the rain of the previous day

Charles Gallagher, Chief Executive and Peter Ging, President of IHFA welcomed everyone to the Open day. The official opening was performed by Ger Coughlan, Regional Manager of Kerry Co-op Agri division who were the main sponsors of the day. Ger emphasised the commitment of the Co-op to dairy expansion in the area and that the Hannan’s were loyal and committed milk producers, farming to a very high standard. Jimmy had put in place a solid foundation for the herd with John and Paul building on that solid foundation.

The event was blessed by Fr. Mike O’Shea.

Other dignitaries included; Richard Jones, CEO Holstein UK, Jimmy Hull –Fortland herd & former President of Holstein UK, John Martin-field officer HUKNI.

Also in attendance were TD’S Eamonn O’ Cuiv and Niall Collins.

Everyone received a great welcome and there were no end of refreshments, teas and coffee’s available all day. It was a great family day out where old friends and new could renew acquaintances in a relaxed atmosphere with entertainment provided by the Unity Gospel Choir.

The local ladies from Carnane National School were very busy serving refreshments with many compliments on the friendly & efficient service. The ice cream stall was a popular attraction throughout the day with all proceeds donated to Cystic Fibrosis, a very worthy charity. The volunteers and good causes involved on the day are thankful to IHFA and the Hannans for their support.

Inter Club Stock Judging Finals:

The serious business of the day was the Interclub stock judging, YMA stock Judging, Macra stock judging and presentation of the National Herds Competition winners.

I wish to thank Mike Gould-Woodmarsh herd, Shropshire UK, Des Frawley- Coolstar Herd, Co Limerick and Ricky Barrett- Laurelelm herd, Co Cork for officiating as the master judges for the Senior stock judging.

I also wish to thank Margaret Murphy and Mervyn Kearney who officiated at the YMA stock judging. John O Connor, Ballykennedy herd and Dermot Ryan, Sallybank herd who took the reasons for placings of the cows for Macra.

The judges were wholesome in their praise of the teams of cows for the judging. They were hard working farmer cows with dairy strength, width of rump and excellent functionality with Feet & Legs and udders to match. They were the type of cows that any dairy farmer would like to be milking, sound in every feature.

At the end of the National stock judging competition Paul presented the cows from the top families. All present were seriously impressed with the cows.This was reflected in the prices paid for young stock bred from these cow families later in the evening.

I wish to thank the sponsors:

Main sponsors on the day were Kerry Coop who sponsored the Interclub stock judging, Greenvale Animal Feeds who sponsored the National Herds Competition, FBD Insurance who sponsored the Gold & Diamond awards and Volac who sponsored YMA. Agri Aware generously supplied prize packs to the U12’s.

Associate sponsors included Roches Feeds, AIB Bank, ESB Networks, DeLaval, Crecora Mills, Mid West Veterinary, Munster AI.

Richard Whelan, Chairman of IHFA thanked the Hannans for a wonderful day and thanked everyone for attending.

Paul Hannan thanked his parents for all their help, support and guidance down the years. He thanked IHFA staff and Chief Executive, the volunteers that helped, the Limerick and Clare IHFA club, the caterers, Carnane National school, the Gospel Unity choir and all the sponsors in making it such a special day. €2,500 was raided for the Cystic Fibrosis charity and ice cream was sponsored by Tom Ryan who owns the Centra retail store in Raheen.

Charles Gallagher, Chief Executive of IHFA thanked the Hosts, Sponsors, Press, local clubs, IHFA staff, YMA, stewards, and everyone who helped to make the day such a success.

The Open Day was well attended by milk producers, pedigree breeders, trade, farm organizations, Macra na Feirme, Teagasc personnel and the Agri –media.

Seventy commercial firms and organisations had trade stands. These included sponsors Kerry Coop, Greenvale, FBD Insurance, AIB, ESB Networks, DeLaval, Roches Feeds, Volac, Munster AI and Crecora mills.

Among the trade stands were ABS Ireland, Agri Needs, Alltech, Animax, Bank of Ireland, Dairymaster, DeLaval, Dovea, Eurogene, Holstein UK, Lely Robotics, McAree Engineering,  Norbrook, Packo Fullwood, World Wide Sires


IHFA competitions included National Herds competition (winter & spring calving -under and over 70 categories), and National Stock judging (under 18 plus 18-26 age group), all attracted huge interest as did the EBI and the Gold and Diamond awards.

I wish to thank Liam Curran, Bayvilla herd, Co Waterford for judging the National Herds Competition. This competition is sponsored by Greenvale animal feeds.

The Judges Recognition award is a new element introduced to the Competition this year, awarded to Richard & Valerie Claxton, Ballyroan, Co. Laois in recognition for their safe, neat and tidy farmyard.

Lisnalty Celebration Sale:

As part of the IHFA Open Day events on farm, a special sale of 33 deep pedigreed young heifers took place representing the best cow families in the Lisnalty Herd. The first calf was sold by the family with proceeds going to Midwest Cancer Research fund .

All in all an excellent trade!

National Herds Competition Results

1. Paul Hannan, Crecora, Co. Limerick “Lisnalty” Herd
2. John Barrett & Sons, Lehenaghmore, Togher, Cork “Laurelmore” Herd
3. Brochan & Joseph Cocoman, Kilwarden, Kill Co. Kildare “Kilwarden” Herd

John & Thomas Stone, Moneen, Moate, Co. Westmeath. “Hallstone” Herd

1. Richard Whelan, Towlagh, Clonard, Co. Meath “Lumville” Herd
2. Dermot Jackson, Borkil, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow “Borkil” Herd
3. Eddie O’Flynn, Ballinascarthy, Clonakilty, Co. Cork “Ryefarm” Herd

Kieran Harty, Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry “Ocean” Herd

1. Eamon McLoughney, Ardcroney, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary “Ballythomas” Herd
2. Thomas Byrne, Craanford, Gorey, Co. Wexford “Lask” Herd
3. Margaret Laffan, Kilfinny, Adare, Co. Limerick “Everground” Herd

Michael Kiernan, Drumconrath, Navan, Co. Meath “Knockais” Herd

1.Brochan & Joseph Cocoman “Kilwarden” Herd
2.Richard Whelan “Lumville” Herd
3.Dermot Jackson “Borkil” Herd

Richard Claxton “Richvale” Herd, Colt, Ballyroan, Co. Laois

Inter-Club National Stock Judging Results

26 years & over – Sponsored by Kerry Co-op / Agri Business
1. Nth Eastern (Thomas Daly / Leo Nulty / Brendan Mennis)
2. Nth Ireland (David Perry / John Patterson / Stuart Smith)
3. Donegal (Roy Cromie / Trevor Lockhart / Robert Patterson)
Highest Individual: Jack McCullough Trophy – Trevor Lockhart (Donegal Club)

18 – 26 years – Sponsored by Roches Feeds
1. Slaney (Sarah Condren / Joe Kehoe / Maebh Kehoe)
2. Nth Ireland (William Bolton / Andrew Patterson / Andrew Kennedy)
3. Cork (Diarmuid Murphy / Jason Helen / Evan Shorten)
Highest Individual Winner: Milk Board Perpetual Trophy – Diarmuid Murphy (Cork Club)

Under 18 Section – Sponsored by AIB
1. Nth Eastern (Jack Mennis / Alexander Nulty / Matthew Flanagan)
2. Galway (Kane Boal / Megan Boal / Donal Coppinger)
3. Tipperary / Waterford (Glen Dudley / Niamh Barry / Orla Power)
Highest Individual Winner: Fr Collins Trophy – Jack Mennis (North Eastern Club)

Report on the Cream of Lisnalty Sale
€3,000 average at the Cream of Lisnalty Herd Sale. Heifers exported to the UK, Northern Ireland, Cavan, Sligo, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary & Waterford. Top price was €5,000 for a choice on Raven Sisters, €4,600 was paid for Lisnalty CIX Pauline and 14 other animals made over €3,000. With a number of online bidders on the Internet for the first time at a livestock sale in the Republic of Ireland. It was the biggest crowd ever to attend an IHFA Open Day Sale. Denis Barrett conducted the auction on behalf of Joint auctioneers Colin Johnson & Denis Barrett.

Lisnalty Herd History:

Jimmy Hannan wears his Clare colours on his sleeve. He grew up on a dairy farm near Ardnacrusha, on the Limerick City bounds. He was the youngest of four brothers so an alternative livelihood had to be found despite his love of farming. He got a job in Limerick city at Lindsay brothers’ drapery shop. In 1956 he opened his own shop at the age of 19 with his father going guarantor.

He bought 22 acres in Friarstown, Co. Limerick, when he got married in 1965 and his wife Marie managed the farm. They were blessed with six children. He was very much influenced by Fr. Dan O Mahony, Rector Pallaskenry College who advised him to get into pedigree Friesians and Milk record. In 1966 he bought his first Friesians. He sold the shop in 1977 and became a full time farmer buying extra land and expanding the herd.

Today they farm 700 acres of which 150 acres are rented. Paul manages the Dairy enterprise. His brother John runs the beef enterprise rearing all the Holstein Friesian male calves, finishing through to slaughter as well as being involved with all farm tasks. He also runs a 60 cow suckler herd finishing 150 head in total. John also has a successful silage contracting business.

All this was built on the back of the milking cow says Paul. In 2014 the herd produced 1.2m litres of milk, supplied to Kerry Co-op for liquid consumption.

The cows are split calving- 60% calving in the autumn, 40% in the spring. The grazing platform extends to 72 acres carrying 110 cows. This is a heavy stocking rate of over 3LU/hectare. The harvesting of bailed silage at optimum intervals forms an important part of grassland management. All the major annual tasks i.e. silage making etc. are carried out by the family.

John is very involved with all farm tasks and the beef enterprise which he manages. He also

This is a high Output herd. The winter ration consists of top quality Bailed silage cut at 7weeks, beet, maize, crimped wheat with a top up ration, 21%CP, and fed in the parlour supplied by Roches feeds. The silage quality this past winter was 76DMD.

Paul inherited the love of the cows and recalls that when he was only 10 years of age he started training calves to walk. He won that year at Boher, Limerick, Cappamore and Charleville –“and that’s how it all began for me!”  After his Leaving Cert he got placement in the Horwood Herd of Stan Bone in the UK where he furthered his knowledge of Pedigree breeding.

Royal Show Stockjudging

Paul enjoyed success as a judge from an early age representing the Limerick/ Clare club and winning the under 18   stock judging competition of the British and Irish young members (BFCS) at the Royal Show. He was the youngest Irishman to do so at the time. He was instrumental in setting up a young members club in Ireland which became the YMA.

Paul is on the International European panel of judges, judging Norfolk show in 2012, the Spanish National show in 2013, The NRM in Holland in 2014 and he is booked to judge the Danish National show later this year.

Jimmy was first secretary of the Limerick Clare club established in 1973. During a Limerick/Clare tour to UK and while visiting the Ullswater herd of Tom Carrick Jimmy was very impressed with the “Sunray” family. He purchased two members from the family which were offered for sale at Carlisle Black and White sale. Ullswater Sunray 107 was one of the purchases at 2000gns. This purchase was to change everything for the Hannans and elevate them to the top echelons of pedigree breeding. She became one of the best known show cows of the breed in Ireland with 21 championships to her credit. She won the RDS three times, 1990,’91&’92.

The quest for females from the best lines in Ireland, Canada and UK continued. Cow families such as Shower, Sassy, Tamy, Impala, Kimo, Lulu, Inka Ideal, Lyme, Melody, Balertwine, Pledge, Lauren, Madame, Raven….the list continues, have developed and progressed in the herd.

The breeding philosophy at Lisnalty is high production, functional type combined with body strength. “Cows need correct feet & legs and sound udders to last in our high production environment says Paul”. IHFA Classification & Linear scoring services are used to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the herd. Paul comments “It is important to get an Independent assessment, as a breeder you tend to get over familiar with the herd of cows and not recognize the weaknesses until they are pointed out to you”

The Herd is classified in the top categories with 86% VG/EX.

Herd Health is an important consideration and all animals are vaccinated against BVD, IBR and Leptospirosis.

Paul is a strong supporter of the local Limerick/Clare club entering the club herd’s competition where he has been very successful. He has represented the club at the National IHFA herd’s competition and maintains a strong record of success winning his section outright in ‘09,’10,’11 and runner up ‘12, ’13 and ‘14. He is married to Eileen and they have three children Jane, Claire and Bill.


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