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Sunday 11 December 2016

McInerney lifts Limousin banner champion

Dan Danaher

Published 30/03/2010 | 05:00

JOHN McInerney has developed an uncanny knack of landing a major Limousin prize against the odds. In October 2008, the Newmarket-on-Fergus Limousin breeder proved that small producers also could scoop national honours when his four-year-old cow, Drummin Veronica, scooped the coveted prize of Overall Limousin Champion at the Beef Expo in Kilkenny.

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John recently took over as president of the Irish Limousin Cattle Society, which has 2,200 breeders nationwide, despite serving on the council for just one year and the fact he never held an office in the Clare Limousin Club during his 10 years as a member.

The 40-year-old father-of-two, who runs a 70-strong dairy herd at Clonmoney West, Newmarket-on-Fergus, joined the association in 1994 when he purchased a pedigree cow and calf from long-time Kilrush breeder, Liam Williams.

His father, Michael, had a Friesian dairy herd and slowly over the years, John started to build up a small Limousin herd without taking it too seriously.

In 2000, John adopted a new approach and started to cull any Limousin cow he felt wasn't up to the required standard.

Drummin Peach was the foundation of the herd and was the dam of the award-winning Drummin Veronica by Moustic and her full brother Drummin Candy Man who was judged Junior Male Champion at Roscrea Premier Sale in 2007.

John has a strict breeding policy of using a 100pc AI on all his cows and only uses sires with high reliability, top growth rates, high docility and proven maternal abilities, together with good muscle and skeletal indices. The herd consists of sires such as Mas Du Clo, Navarin, Lino and Scorboro Regius.

Transplant

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Embryo transplant also plays a major part in his herd. He uses embryos from the two top breeding females in Veronica and Peach. Peach has bred 32 calves on the farm.

Official Department of Agriculture AI statistics for 2005 revealed a massive 92,390 inseminations for dairy and beef herds confirming Limousin as the number one beef breed in AI. Limousin also has the distinction of being the top suckler dam in the country.

In the past, some dairy producers were concerned that Limousin had a longer gestation than Friesian. However, short gestation Limousin sires have now been identified to suit dairy farmers' requirements for compact calving.

John hopes that this will encourage an increase in the use of the breed as female Limousin calves from the dairy herd are always in demand as suckler cow replacements.

Alternatively, they can be finished easily and fit perfectly into the home 'butcher heifer' market at a young age. Three-quarter and seven-eight bred Limousin cattle are tailor-made for live weanling exporters whose customers often express a preference for 'peas in a pod' when it comes to loads of stock.

John said the base price for beef is way too low for sustained production. "The majority of Irish beef is going to the UK where producers are getting €150 extra for a 340kg animal," he said.

Irish Independent



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