Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Good breeding showcased in Ratheniska

A preview of the pedigree cattle exhibitions at this week's Ploughing Championships

Charolais exhibition
Charolais exhibition
Holstein Friesian exhbition
Kevin Diffley, Clooncolligan, Bornacoola, Ck-On-Shannon, Co. Leitrim with 'Clooncolligan Kara' Supreme Irish Angus Champion 2015, and Conor & Dara Cox, Michael Cronin (Judge) Shauna Diffley and Bridie Foley presenting the Michael Foley cup
Limousin bull

Martin Ryan

The livestock section first introduced to the Ploughing Championships over 15 years ago has become a major event in its own right, featuring all native and imported breeds.

In addition to the breed society stands, which have become much larger over the years with an abundance of statistics and information now being offered to the visitors, the live exhibits form a very important part of the exhibition for each of the breeds. Side by side with the breed societies, suppliers of farm services, equipment and treatments for the livestock producer, now add to the variety and range of informaton available. All the main breed societies will be present and here is a brief guide to what you can expect over the three days.

Charolais

The highlight of the opening day for Charolais breeders will be the announcement of winners and presentation of the awards in the ICCS suckler herd's competition for a prize fund of €3,500 for the winner and runner-up towards the purchase of a pedigree Charolais bull or heifer in a society sale within the next three years.

The competition attracted a lot entries over the past few months, which resulted in a number of herds being selected for on-farm visits. The judge's decision was not an easy one, with some exceptional commercial Charolais herds with varying systems battling it out.

Livestock from both herds will be represented on the stand - No 113 in the Livestock area - over the three days and there will be an opportunity to win a five star maternal Charolais heifer on display at the stand. The pedigree cattle on the stand have been drawn from the top prize winners from the National Calf and Heifer Championships, held before a huge crowd who saw progeny from all the major Charolais sires in France, UK and Ireland compete on the day.

The Society is also launching it's yearbook at the Ploughing and this includes photos and reports from the National Calf and Heifer championships, summer shows, sales, and semen available from the office.

Information will be available on the Charolais autumn sales season which kicks off on Thursday October 22 with an evening, unhaltered female sale in Golden Vale Mart, Tullamore while the Society's bull sales commence on November 7 in Tullamore and the annual bull sale in Ennis takes place on Saturday November 21.

The final show/sale and the biggest of the year - the Christmas Cracker for females and males - is at Elphin on Saturday, December 5.


Holstein Friesian

Celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the breed in Ireland will provide the backdrop to the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) presence at the Ploughing.

Presentations will be made to key industry personnel who have contributed to the progression of Irish dairy farming during the era of the IFBA/IHFA over the past half century and centrepiece of the exhibition will be seven Holstein Friesian and Pure Friesian cows from local herds to highlight productivity, efficiency, excellent fertility, conformation and EBI.

The association will have special offers available on Whole Herd Grade Up (WHGU) Classification, and Linear Scoring with the opportunity for non-members to join the Association and following the Grade Up process, go on to attain Pedigree status for their herd.

Where good herd records have been maintained over the years the Grade Up process is a simple process in adding value to the herd. Linear Scoring/Classification is an independent, unbiased assessment carried out by trained staff, placing particular emphasis on the cow's rump structure, feet and legs and udder traits.

Ahead of the next Breeding season, dairy farmers can also avail of a 'Breeders Pack' of next generation test sires, featuring a panel of four bulls, backed by strong cow families and with positive PTA figures the Bulls available through the 'Gene Ireland' test programme with limited availability.

Visitors to the stand - No 157, Block 4, Row 11 - will also have the opportunity to enter a draw for fantastic prizes including their very own Pedigree Registered Friesian Heifer calf!

Angus

Students from five second level schools will be presented with  Irish Angus calves by RTÉ's Miriam O'Callaghan at the Irish Angus Breeders stand on Wednesday September 23.

They come from Presentation Secondary School, Loughboy, Co Kilkenny; Our Lady's School, Terenure, Dublin ; Ballymahon Vocational School, Ballymahon, Co. Longford; Colaiste Mhuire, Buttevant, Co Cork; and Salesian Secondary College, Copsewood, Pallaskenry, Co Limerick.

The schools are the winners from the Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition, now in its second year, which has become phenomenally popular with a doubling of entries in 2015.

The stand will also highlight the success of the Certified Irish Angus Beef Scheme which has contributed to a 19pc growth in Angus births.

Charles Smith, general manager, Irish Angus Producer Group, and his team with senior personnel from ABP and Kepak will outline details of the off-season bonus structure for the Autumn/Winter 2015.

Limousin

The success of 'Limoshortgest', which was launched by the Irish Limousin Society in 2014 to highlight the benefits which the breed offers to beef producers, will be central to the society presentation at the Ploughing Championships.

The 'Limoshortgest' programme was embarked upon to identify short gestation, easy calving sires to target growth potential in the dairy sector.

Participating dairy farmers have been very satisfied with the quality of calves born and premium prices received.

"These Limousin sired calves had an average gestation of 284 days and were easily calved. Due to the positive results and feedback there has been a huge uptake in the programme again this year," according to the society.

With an average of 9,000 calves registered annually and approximately 2,400 members Limousin has become Ireland's number one beef AI sire choice for the past three years.

It occupies the number one suckler dam position with trials at Teagasc, Grange showing 'Limousin-cross Friesian' as the most profitable suckler dam.

The society are now preparing to showcase the breed success to a worldwide audience in 2016, when they host the International Limousin Congress, from August 20 to 28, 2016.

The breed's autumn sales season kicks off with the Premier Male and Female sale at Roscrea on Bank Holiday Monday, October 26 while the final sale for 2015 will be held at Tullow on November 19.

Indo Farming