Blonde bombshells - the award winning cows from a Ballinalee farm
John Lynch is making his mark with the Ballinascraw blondes
While small can be beautiful, it is also very successful when applied to the Blonde d'Aquitaine breed on the farm of John Lynch where a small herd of Blonde cows are to be found mingling among a much larger mixed commercial herd of continentals in Co Longford.
Mention the Ballinascraw herd to anyone in the world of pedigree beef breeding and the string of National Championship awards won by the Blondes from the Ballinalee farm in successive years immediately springs to mind.
Over the past decade the Ballinascraw Blondes have been punching well above their weight in winning the top rosettes in the national show rings around the country consistently ranking top of the class.
But for John Lynch, his wife, Bernie and son, Stephen who keep a herd of 50 sucklers, the five or six pedigree Blonde d'Aquitaine cows are the minority among the Limousin and Charolais on the farm, where a flock of Vendeen sheep also make up the stocking. Apart from the honour which the breed has earned for the herd, they have been playing a more fundamental role in crossing on Limousin and Charolais for the commercial side of their beef production, with a lot of success.
Progeny from the herd have turned out to be top performers at the National Testing Station at Tully and bulls from the herd for breeding are in constant demand from farmers around the country.
"We had the Limousin five or six years at the time I got into the Blondes in the early '90s. The first thing that caught my eye was the length that they had and then they were good for weight gain and a very good killout," says John.
"Then they are easy calved and a good breed for crossing particularly for crossing with the Blues," he adds.
He bought the first of the breed from Mrs Fallon, at Knock House, Duncormick, Co Wexford who was PRO for the Blonde d'Aquitaine Society in Ireland at the time.