My final two calls for the evening are based down near Currans, Farranfore, Co. Kerry. Visited 2 farmers who were part-time previously in milk production. Because of farm fragmentation and the inability to scale up, they have converted over to suckler beef herds with off—farm jobs to supplement income. However, these individuals were farming with a difference. There was a great interest in doing the job well with animal welfare to the fore front. The quality of beef cattle produced was excellent with a selection of sires through AI, based on the cross of the dam used to produce a final calf of excellent conformation. This challenge is indeed great and one cannot predict accurately the outcome from a particular terminal sire cross to produce the ideal offspring. One of the farmers was considering the purchase of cows on an annual basis with calves at foot which would enable him to use a sire giving him greater predictability of progeny that could be produced using the terminal sire. He found that with maiden heifers that he had to use an easy calving sire and would have to wait until cows were four or five years of age and on their third-fourth calving before he could use the ideal sire. My only reservation was in the approach would be Bio-security on the farm from the purchase of stock on an annual basis. He is currently considering the purchase of Limousin Cross Blonde Aquantine cows in calf, crossed with Belgian Blue sires for the production of stock with expert potential as yearlings.
Dr.Dan Ryan @ www.cows365.com