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Having completed a year at Ag College in Pallaskenry in 1983, I was fortunate to spend a year working on the farm of Sean and John O’Sullivan at Lisduff, Co Cork. The Lisduff farm was a combination of show cows but an equal focus on the reality that milk paid the bills.

RDS Show 1984

The RDS Spring Show was the most important agriculture event of the year. At that time, the cows stayed in Dublin for the week. We had the Champion cow in 1984, a daughter of Ballinahina Creator, Lisduff Begonia 109 Ex.

Delightful Bell 7 VG85 with 7 ET heifer calves by the French bull Penn-Springs Mr C born in 1991.

Bell 7 VG85

Bell 7 was the highest index cow in Ireland when indexes were first introduced in the mid 80’s. Her highest yield was in 1989, 11,892kg at 4.04% 3.20%. This was on 3X milking.

She was sired by the Canadian bull, Ullswater Roybrook and was one of ten Ullwater Roybrook daughters we milked. Some of the Roybrook’s could have plain udders but their superior ability to milk was obvious. We failed to provide a level of management to optimise the genetic ability of Holstein cows. Global genetics have improved significantly in the last 30 years, I am not convinced that livestock management has kept pace with the genetic improvement.

The Limerick and Clare team of John Maher, Paul Hannan and Paul Dillon were winners of the All-Ireland Inter Club Stock Judging in 1984. The master judge on the day was Seamus Kelly of Moneymore Herd in Co Louth. Mr Kelly was a pioneer of dairy farming and cattle breeding; he was ahead of his time.

All-Ireland Inter Club Stock Judging
Barbican Sauterne Darkie 2 Ex

Barbican Sauterne Darkie 2 Ex after winning 50 tonne class at Millstreet.


We purchased Darkie for flushing, but she did not produce many embryos.

200 cow 4 row barn that I built in 2000. Headlocks were not commonly used in Ireland at the time so I imported the cubicles and headlocks from Wisconsin USA.

cow barn

Having spent 30 years milking cows, I went back to school to learn to feed cows properly when I had no cow. I received my diploma in Ruminant Nutrition in 2018 from Harper Adams University. 

I must be a slow learner

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