Aubracs making waves in the west
Kevin O'Brien hasn't looked back since taking a gamble on the Aubrac breed of cattle, reports Martin Ryan
Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30
HIS first impressions of the breed weren't favourable, but Kevin O'Brien is glad now that he persisted with Aubracs when setting out to establish a new beef herd on the family farm.
"I had talked to a number of farmers who advised me to go for the Aubrac because they were easy calving, but I was not overly impressed when I saw the heifers," recalls the Co Galway breeder about his introduction to the breed in 2011.
He had just returned to farming on the 42 acre family holding at Barnaboy, Turloughmore, after working in construction during the Celtic Tiger years.
Pedigree Belgian Blue had been bred and reared on the farm for the previous 17 years and a Belgian Blue stock bull was used on the commercial herd.
They had proven to be very saleable cattle as weanlings with good export demand and the progeny from the herd had won numerous prizes at the weanling shows and sales.
Despite the strong trade and good prices for the Blues, Kevin was concerned that "not all Belgian Blue calves made it to the mart" because of difficult calvings and associated losses.
After hearing about the Aubrac's easy calving attributes, he travelled to Co Donegal to view an Aubrac heifer.
"I was not overly impressed by the heifers at first," says Kevin.