All the signs are that the IHFA, Irish Holstein Friesian Breeders Association, will push ahead with a major Spring Show in 2014. And, as such, it will represent the launch of the dairy show season in Ireland.
Over the past number of years all IHFA events have managed to break new ground in putting a clear focus on the commitment of pedigree dairy cattle breeders and the key role they play within the milk sector.
All of the indicators point to the continuing growth of milk production in Ireland over the coming years. Leading the way in this regard will be ever growing number of elite Back & White; Ayrshire, Jersey and other breeders. Significantly, they provide a world of breeding options for commercial farmers to select from when it comes to determining the genetic base of the national dairy herd as a whole.
So much for the bigger picture. In terms of interest, recreational and entertainment value, nothing beats a day out at an agricultural event. But livestock shows have a unique and intoxicating ambience that sets them apart.
A modern Holstein cows can produce 50 litres plus milk per day when fresh. This is a truly remarkable feat and reflects totally on the breeding decisions taken by pedigree herd-owners over many years and generations of cows.
To see a group of pedigree dairy stock in a show ring, with their handlers in attendance, vying to catch the eye of the judge – is a tremendous sight. And, of course, everyone gathered round the ring will have a view that is somewhat at odds with the judge’s perspective. Such is the joy of being in attendance at such an event.
Young people are also catered for at all IHFA shows, courtesy of the Young Members’ show classes. These competitions help develop the next generation of pedigree enthusiasts.
Given the current spell of truly atrocious weather, it’s hard to believe that spring may not be that far away. Dairy farming goes to the heart of agriculture in this country. And this is fully reflected in the quality of the pedigree cows bred in Ireland. So why not take the opportunity of experiencing the buzz of the upcoming show season.