KM: What is the background to the herd?
Philip Jones: I run a pedigree herd of Holstein cows under the Hallow prefix, alongside my wife, Linda. Our farm is located just outside Gorey, Co Wexford.
We have two children and they both play an active role in the running of the farm.
Although I was always involved in the farm, I took over the running of the herd nine years ago in 2013.
My father established the herd 50 years ago. In recent years, the herd has expanded and we currently milk 100 pedigree cows.
How long have you been showing cattle at the RUAS Winter Fair?
I have been showing cattle, in general, for close to 35 years and it is something I get great enjoyment from.
I have also been a regular exhibitor at the RUAS Winter Fair.
I first took cattle north to the Winter Fair back in the mid-2000s following the lifting of BSE export movement restrictions that were put in place the previous decade.
What draws you to showing cattle at the RUAS Winter Fair?
It’s a major dairy show and therefore gets a lot of farmers and international visitors. I find it is a great event to showcase the best genetics we have from our various cow families to customers.
The show is also an opportunity to socialise and talk to other breeders, as well as seeing the best genetics they have to offer.
How many animals are entered for the 2021 event?
This year, we have entered six animals from our own herd. We also show cattle for some other breeders such as Gary and Izzy Jones and Jim Sinnott.
When did the preparation work begin for this year’s show team?
Around two months before the show, we started the preparation work with the animals selected for the Winter Fair. We start with getting the diet right for these animals, then move on to things such as halter training, etc.
On the actual week of the show, the cows are washed, although hair trimming is carried out as close to the show as possible.
What have been the standout moments for your herd at the RUAS Winter Fair?
We are fortunate to have had some major success at the Winter Fair, winning the supreme breed and interbreed championships on a few occasions. We have also had animals standing reserve champion, as well as getting honourable mentions on a couple of occasions.
What advice would you give to any breeder looking to start showing cattle?
If you want to show cattle, it is vital that you invest in good cow families. You need top genetics to stand out in the show ring.
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition. It is important to have cows on a good, steady diet.