The well-known farm based in Co. Westmeath belonging to David Clarke and more commonly known as ‘the Cows.ie farm’ is set to host a rather unique on-farm sale of dairy heifers this Saturday, October 30.
The sale is being run in conjunction with MartEye and Ballyjamesduff Co-operative Livestock Mart Ltd.
The sale will feature a total of 80 in-calf heifers and 10 bulling heifers.
The heifers on offer are unique in appearance in the sense that they are all dairy heifers, yet have the appearance of an animal destined for the suckler herd.
The breed of the heifers on offer at the sale is known as Fleckvieh and speaking to Agriland, Cows.ie’s David Clarke explained what the breed is about.
He explained that he has been in the business of sourcing dairy stock for 30 years, since he first imported a group of Holstein heifers from France in 1991.
“We have grown our business slowly but steadily since then,” he explained.
David believes that the business’ online presence has helped contribute to its growth and noted he is “rather handy” at navigating his way around online himself.
As part of the sale and to promote the breed, three artificial insemination (AI) straws from a top-performing Fleckvieh bull will be supplied complimentary to the buyer of each heifer.
He noted that the Fleckvieh cow is the same as the Simmental breed but explained “we’re more inclined to call them Fleckvieh because they’re more the dairy side of the Simmental breed.
“In Ireland, we have went the beef route with the Simmental breed – and very successfully also – but in doing that, we have lost a lot of the breed’s milk-production ability.”
Commenting on the Fleckvieh’s ability to match a more common type of dairy cow in Ireland, Clarke explained: “A lot of the mothers of the heifers we are selling have produced over 10,000L/annum and some of them up to 12,000L/annum of milk.”
He continued: “The milk production is excellent from the Fleckvieh breed, the average milk production in Austria – where the breed originates from – is over 7,000L per cow per year – which is quite substantial.
“They have great shape and power with great weight gain – they give you everything a Simmental gives you but with the extra milk and they are a very friendly, docile type of cow.”
Commenting on dairy farmers cuurent use of the breed in Ireland, the Cows.ie boss explained: “We have at least two full herds of these cows in Ireland. There’s one in Co. Louth with an average milk yield of over 8,000L from an entirely Fleckvieh-based spring-calving herd with quite good solids as well.”
Commenting on the breed’s fertility, Clarke explained: “They’re good for block calving with an average calving interval of 380 days so they’re really good on fertility also.
“There’s a lot of farmers really interested in the breed but want to find out more about them first, and that’s part of the aim of the on-farm sale, is to let people in to see them and get to know more about them.”
The sale will get underway at 12:00p.m on Saturday, October 30, in the Cows.ie yard and all interested farmers are welcome to attend. Bidding will be available online via the MartEye app and a catalog is available on the Cows.ie website.