Paddy Crowe’s father Tim founded his herd in 1953 with the purchase of three purebred Friesian cows and Paddy’s son Martin manages the pure breed Friesian herd today.

“Martin is the boss now,” says Paddy, who has handed the reins over to his son.

The Farm

The Crowes milk around 100 cows, but they calve down 150.

“We have a grazing block of about 100 acres around the parlour and another block of 50 acres that we bought a few years back about 4km over the road, so we rear the heifers and bulls on that block. We supply our milk to Kerry Co-op,” Paddy explains.

“Martin works off-farm as well, so we have a young man working with us, Diarmuid Cummins. He’s been with us for 12 years. He knows the breeding better than I do,” he adds.

“We only milk pure British Friesian cows, we didn’t go Holstein at all. My father believed pedigree should be pedigree.”


“Each year, we keep the bulls and heifers from the best cows with the best figures. With the Friesians, you’re looking for protein. We try not to keep a calf unless her mother’s protein was above 3.5%,” explains Paddy. They have to milk-record numbers to keep on top of their figures for selling to breeders. “The majority of our buyers are looking at the figures and the protein when they’re buying a bull, but you’d still get the odd farmer who wouldn’t want to look at the figures and would just go by looking at him,” says Martin.

They keep the heifers and calve them down at two years old. This way, Martin and Paddy know their customer is getting what they’re looking for.

Paddy explains that they don’t really show the calves anymore. “It’s a lot of work. We go and support the odd local show, but that’d be it.”


Over the years Paddy built up a loyal customer base, with some of his customers coming back for their eighth, ninth and 10th bulls. “We had an open day in 2014 and there were 13 or 14 excellent classified cows,” says Paddy. “We sold 40 heifers this year and they went like hot buns.”

The majority of the bulls will be sold to pedigree herds. “We run a very strict pure breed line in the herd. I think this is a good selling point.

“A few years back we tried to cross a few of our cows with Holstein bulls, but we found it difficult to sell them,” Paddy continues.

“When calves are born, they are put into individual pens with all of their information on the door until they are tagged. This way they don’t get mixed up. The British Friesian Society have blood-tested our calves several times and every time we’ve passed.

“We’ve used a lot of Dovea genetics and we get an odd bull from Munster AI to mix it up. The Pure British Friesian Club bought semen in Scotland to bring in a new strain, so we use some of that too.”

Like a lot of pure-breed farmers, Paddy doesn’t really agree with the EBI index. He feels that some of his better cows aren’t getting the rating they deserve. He prefers to look at his protein figures and put the index to one side.

As well as Martin, who now runs the farm, Paddy also has three other sons.

“Martin always had the most interest in farming. When he’d come home from school or college at the weekend, he’d be out looking at the cows before he would even look at his dinner,” Paddy says.

After studying in Roscrea, Martin went on to study agricultural science in UCD. After college, Martin worked with Volac, but unfortunately glandular fever forced him out of work for a few years.

Since then, he has made a full recovery and is now a farm consultant, as well as a full-time farmer, husband to Jo and father of five.