THE 2022 winners of
Holstein UK’s prest-igious Master Breed-er Awards were pre-
sented with their acc-olades at the 153rd Balmoral Show.
Holstein NI Secretary John Martin said: “The highly coveted award is the pinnacle of success for all Holstein UK members. It recognises herds that breed and produce outstanding cattle with a high standard of production, conformation, health and longevity.
“Holstein UK named 10 recipients this year, but it is important to note that five of the newly crowned Master Breeders are from Northern Ireland. This is testimony to the high calibre of stockmanship and Holstein cattle on local farms. The remaining five winners are located in England and Wales.”
John Martin concluded: “Con-
gratulations to the high-performing herds. I would also like to give a special mention to the Stevenson family from Kilkeel, whose Newry herd is the first in the UK to win three Master Breeder Awards; while the Magowan family from Rathfriland have secured their
The Master Breeder Awards were presented by Holstein UK President John Jamieson. Winners include:
BANNWATER – A J Magowan and Son, Rathfriland, County Down
This is the Magowan family’s second Master Breeder Award,
having received the first one in 2012.
The Bannwater herd was established in 1981 when Andrew Magowan started milking 12 cows from leading families at Barbican and Laurelhill. Cow numbers have
increased to around 60 milkers, and there is a strong breeding focus on type and components using proven sires.
The herd is housed all year round with yields averaging 11,000kgs at 4.3 per cent BF and 3.22 per cent P. During 2018 the herd saw an increase in production which resulted in a new unit being constructed the following year before upgrading to a Fullwood 12-point swing-over parlour in 2021.
Cow families include Sheba,
Laucot Nancy, Babs Nancy,
Margaret and recent addit-
ions Val from the Ballyedmond Estate, Experience from Can-ada, and Amy from Whinchat.
The Magowans have four 100T cows and 27 Excellent cows, which includes four EX94 and six EX93. Notable achievements include champ-ion and reserve champion at the 2019 Newry Agricultural Show with Bannwater Beemer Sheba and Bannwater Nancy.
LISNACLOON – William S Hunter, Castlederg, County Tyrone
The Lisnacloon herd has been home-bred for over 40 years using Canadian breeding, and was registered as pedigree in the early Eighties.
The 57-cow herd includes 19 EX, 28 VG and nine GP, and averages 9,871 litres at 4.02 per cent BF and 3.25 per cent P.
Prominent cow families include the Iris family, which has eight EX cows in the herd, including Lisnacloon Iris 2 who was EX94 (8) at the end of her 10th lactation, having produced 122,243 litres.
Lisnacloon is a closed herd and surplus heifers are sold to local herds. Cows are grazed during the summer, and during the winter their diet consists of grass silage with concentrates fed through the parlour.
The herd’s most recent achievement was winning runner-up small herd in the Premier Section of Holstein NI’s Herds Inspection Com-petition in 2021.
MATFIELD – Lewis, Alan AND Samuel McMurray, Banbridge, County Down
In 1964 Lewis McMurray bought his first pedigree cows and joined the British Friesian Society. Ever since he has continuously strived to improve the herd.
Lewis travelled as far as Canada and Italy to see other breeding enterprises and purchase stock bulls. In the 1980s and 1990s he continued to purchase top-class fam-ilies such as Margaret from Barbican, Jasper from Stan-hope and Wedgewood from Canada.
Prominent families in the herd include Melainie, Ruella and Jasper, with the Melanie family winning Best Cow Family Group five times.
Having developed from hum-
ble beginnings, the Matfield herd was delighted to win Holstein NI’s best overall herd in 2013.
Bulls used include Doorman, Sidekick, Lambda, Unix and Chief.
The McMurrays own 260 acres of land and rent a further 140 acres. The 180-cow herd is fed a TMR ration and receives additional con-centrates in the parlour twice a day.
The Matfield herd currently consists of 41 EX and 113 VG cows, with Matfield Mandy 10 EX93 having produced 150T of milk. The herd average is 11,264kgs at 4.92 per cent BF and 3.12 per cent P.
NEWRY – SJ, JR & C Stevenson, Kilkeel, County Down
The Newry herd is the first in the UK to receive a Master Breeder Award three times.
Founded by Jim’s late father, the herd remained very small until Jim left school in 1972. The best commercial cows were sourced and graded-up to pedigree.
Influential sires were bulls purchased from the Barbican and Hayleys herds.
During the summer cows are grazed day and night and buffer fed. They are housed in cubicles during the winter. With just over 100 cows, the herd average is 11,361kgs at 4.03 per cent BF and 3.24 per cent P over 302 days, with an average classification of 88.7 points.
There are 140 followers, and prominent cow families include Barbie, Heiress, Chief Adeen, Supra, Tobi, Janina, Mayflower and Dragonfly.
The single biggest impact on the Newry herd has been the purchase of Prelude embryos from the American Barbie family, with almost 50 per cent of the herd being descendants of Barbie, with many highly classified and high production animals. Barbie progeny have often secured top prices at sales.
Chief Adeen embryos by
Fever have resulted in two 94 point animals, and laterally, genomic sires have been predominantly used, resulting in an outstanding crop of calved heifers.
The Newry herd is a past winner of the UK Premier Herd Competition, and Balmoral Interbreed Championship tit-les. It has not competed in herd competitions or shows in recent years.
TRASNAFARM – Hugh AND Alan Maguire, Maguiresbridge, County Fermanagh
First registered in 2002, the Trasnafarm herd consists of 90 cows which are grazed during the day. The herd’s rolling five-year average is 10,400kgs.
Until last year there were four EX94 cows in the herd, until Trasnafarm Windbrook Daphne classified EX95.
There are a further 26 cows classified EX and 55 VG, 13 of which are VG two-year-olds.
The main cow families are Dream, Aaltje, Franc Pan, Daphne, Margaret, Rolls, Nalie,
Sunbeam and Farrah.
The Trasnafarm prefix won second prize in best small herd, and best cow family with the Daphnes, in the junior section of Holstein NI’s 2021 Herds Inspection competition.
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