Meet ACE dairy Arklow breeders Harry and John Hurley.

  • Meet ACE dairy Arklow breeders Harry and John Hurley.
    FarmIreland.t. E.
    John Hurley traces of solutions that make his family famous back to the old man he met many years ago at the RDS in Dublin, Mr Kelly from Drogheda.

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John Hurley traces of solutions that make his family famous back to the old man he met many years ago at the RDS in Dublin, Mr Kelly from Drogheda.

An ambitious young Arklow farmer was considering creating a pedigree Friesian herd at that time and sought advice from a veteran who told him: “You might never see a flock of pedigree – but your sons.”

As it turned out, John lived to enjoy a long retirement surrounded by houses in Clonpaddin countless rosettes and trophies from countless cattle shows how he relishes life in his nineties.

He still keeps a knowledgeable eye on the company, which he created on the sticky Marly soil to the North of the Arklow town and which is now run by his two sons Harry and Patrick, which made him a legend in dairy circles.

In 1954, John was only 21 cows, starting a business, investment, and work hard to boast 130 best cows in the country. The current spread widens to 150 acres in the townlands of Clonpaddin and Coolmore, within earshot of the traffic on the M11 between Arklow and Wicklow, with a further 100 acres rented.

Family Hurley was in Coolmore, since John was six or seven years and Clonpaddin was added when he was a teenager.

The decision to specialize in the production of milk in the fifties was a great challenge, demanding money reluctantly released from a skeptical Bank Manager: “he asked me if I was angry!”

Years suggested that he was, and remains, very sane as Clonpaddin has become synonymous with good milk and breeding. John and wife reared a family of nine here brood who remember those days, when ten or twenty-gallon churns were left at the end of the strip to be a collection of Prime/half-brothers Hughes.

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Among the nine Harry Hurley, I well remember, as a member of the football team Wicklow who ran Dublin to a point in the championship match in 1981. Long gone from the sport, 58-year-old Harry recalls that he left school at the age of 16 in 1976, without a shadow of regret.

The ambition of the youth was to kick the ball and work on the farm with the cattle – they were always the star of the show for him. Instead of trying to pass the exams, he began to use his intelligence to make the stock in Clonpaddin/Coolmore best.

Working with his father, a politician from the very beginning of his career was to put all the energy and all finances are animals, not machines.

They claim that two more tractors from the seventies still in harness for daily transportation and drag and drop.

The milking parlor has a similar vintage, although they recognize that the time is fast approaching when a more modern camera should be installed. At the time that Harry began to develop his interest in breeding, there was no power point home and don’t need a trophy Cabinet.

The herd was good, but not shy of the status of pedigree, with a strong British Friesian lines exhibiting the classic black and white markings, crossed with shorthorns. Friezes are smaller cousins of the giant Holstein breed, which are a superstar of the dairy world, large animals, capable of great milk production.

In Hurleys conceived the desire to make the transition to the Holsteins when Harry was a teenager. The first representatives of this breed arrived in the early seventies, when breeder John kodd presented some high-class calves.

“We started directing all the genealogy. It was always the desire to have pedigree Holstein herds here,” says Harry, although it was not a move made lightly. “It takes six generations to go from British breeds with the Holstein – it’s twenty years.”

The consequences can be illustrated from the point of view of production. In 1975 he returned to the tribe of mumbo-Jumbo days, any Clonpaddin cow which gave 900 liters of milk per year was considered a high performer. In 2018, the average Holstein breed exceeds 2000 litres. What tops 9,000 liters, equivalent to 24 liters per day. Anything less and under poor performer is likely to be shown the gate of the farm…

Harry and his father both retain memories of the first outlet, brought home when the young man was 12 or maybe 13 years, so it must have been in the early seventies. The occasion was Tinahely show that a large festive summer celebration of village life, which is the class for cattle to drive children.

“I still remember that calf,” says Garry. She was a girl and we chose the most quiet on the farm. I brought it with bailer twine’. Also competing was his sister Frances, brother and sister, brought to Tinahely John, who was concerned that they can’t do it in the show field untouched.

“We had a bad trailer,” the father laughs, looking back to simpler times. “I thought the calf will fall”. This is a significant step forward from such a happy adventure in the heavyweight business, which is set Clonpaddin on the world map.

Holstein is a province of Germany, but Hurleys looked to the West across the Atlantic ocean, not East in Continental Europe as they set about creating breeds.

Canada has a reputation as a world leader in this field, so Harry was sent to Toronto in Canada in 1992. His mission was to buy cows for sale near the town, where a lot 56 immediately turned to their shares based instincts

Unfortunately on my nerves Irish visitor, Lot 56 came up for auction at the end of the trial.

There is a risk that it may be from the application and left empty handed after travelling thousands of miles to attend. Fortunately, he had secured the cow and she was brought back through Shannon airport to serve the rest of their days on earth together. Wicklow. Travel to Toronto was repeated in 1994 and this time were added to the herd Clonpaddin more than two cows.

“Canada was fifty years ahead of us then as for breeding,” says Harry, who clearly learned from the masters.

“The gap is not so big, but they are still ahead.” Bridging the gap has become easier with the introduction of methods that enable Irish customers to the import of caviar embryo, not adult animals.

These are implanted in surrogate mother cows, so very ordinary woman can give birth to a juvenile with some of the best genes in the business. A scientific approach is also hot too, conducted with the help of artificial insemination, which allows Harry and Patrick, choose semen from the best Bulls for their cows.

The bulls can be in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, USA, Switzerland, Canada or wherever. Each of these beauties is enhanced with glossy magazines. Brothers skip past perfectly posed pictures to study the data on milk yield, content of Buttermilk in my soul.

Such attention to technical details led them to that of a canadian cow that was sold to rival cork breeder in the 1990-ies. Wicklow men had to stall for time until 2003, when they were able to buy the granddaughter of the original, prophetically dubbed Glory.

Farmers do not usually sentimental in dealing with their wards, but the glory is allowed special privileges, although its breeding and milking days are behind you.

At the age of 15 years, she remains part of the herd, still basking in the glow of a career during which she received her share of the individual all-Ireland awards, as well as passing on their precious genes to her calves, “she is a jewel now.”

The stars of the show-ring stressful time in August, with between piltown, Virginia and tullamore are all on the calendar, attracting the presence of top-60,000 mark. Street mill pencilled in for October during the Balmoral in Belfast is a standing item on the Dec.

“We are doing it for publicity. You don’t need to win – is what you sell from it,” says Harry, who has come a long way from flimsy trailer and a length of bailer twine. Primping and shampoo for one-ton cow on a top class show takes many hours of preparation.

In Clonpaddin brand not only recognized the Irish farmers, and buyers from the length and breadth of the UK will come to you. Glory to the blood line is a premium product, as the demand far exceeds the supply. The most sought after cows were only four calves, but her embryos were farmed out from surrogates, to increase the stock.

“I’ve always had a good way with cows,” says former football player Harry Hurley. “It was a passion for me.”

These days he is spreading his passion and his knowledge as a judge Holstein in Europe, traveling as far as Portugal to consider – but he always returns to the routine of milking in the Coolmore/Clonpaddin.

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