The European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, has cautioned the Irish dairy industry on the future of Irish calf exports.
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The European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, speaking at this year's Virginia Show

Speaking at the Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow winners’ reception at the Virginia Show on Wednesday (August 24) Mc Guinness said: “Because we are an island nation, we need to think how we’re going to adapt if there are tougher rules around the transportation of calves.”

The European commissioner said that Irish dairy farmers “export quite a number” of calves every year “mainly to the Netherlands”.

Latest figures from Bord Bia show that a total of 166,484 calves have been exported from the Republic of Ireland this year as of Saturday, August 13.

The vast majority of these calves are sold to farms in the Netherlands and Spain.

Continuing, the EU commissioner expressed optimism for dairy farming in Ireland saying: “There’s lots of challenges ahead but there’s also lots of opportunities and Irish dairy farmers have always been open to seizing those opportunities and making it work.

“So, my best advice – if I would give any – is to repeat the point don’t get caught up in the noise. We have a job to do as a country and as a European union and that is to address climate and environmental issues and to address sustainability.

“We have an enormous opportunity because of our grass-based system and because of how we farm and our family focussed system is particularly welcomed among those who may never be on a farm but they might read about it when they consume [dairy] products.”

Champion cow

This year’s Baileys champion cow prize was won by Co. Down breeders Sam and John McCormick with their entry Hilltara Undenied Apple VG89, selected by judge David Booth from Feizor Holsteins.

This second-calved cow sired by Our-Favourite Undenied and by Hilltara Doorman Apple 2 dam came out on top.

The judge commented: “Hilltara Undenied Apple absolutely blew me away. She is a true model of a dairy cow, balanced, with strength.”

David Booth gave the Reserve Champion title to Hallow Atwood Twizzle 1191 EX90 from Co. Wexford breeders Philip and Linda Jones from Hallow Holstein.

Hallow Atwood Twizzle 1191 is a fourth calver sired by Maple Downs IG W Atwood and her dam is Hallow Advent Twizzle EX96.

She recently took home the Senior Holstein Friesian Champion at the Tullamore show.

Hallow Atwood Twizzle 1191 dam is a previous winner of the event; she took home the title in 2016.

Honourable Mention was given to Baldonnel Brady Hailey from Co. Dublin breeder John Dowling.

A new report asks whether supposedly green livestock practices have proven benefits.

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