Profit is the name of the game for Mayo's Connemara scheme
Marketing plan by western breeder discussion group aims to secure higher foal prices at sale
Published 18/10/2011 | 05:00
Connemara breeders aiming to secure a premium price for their foals have come up with a new initiative, which they hope will result in higher prices.
The West Mayo Equine Group has introduced a special scheme to ensure that foals offered for sale by its breeders are a step ahead of other foals at the upcoming Connemara sales at Clifden.
The initiative is quite similar to the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme operated by the Department of Agriculture. However, the reward for breeders taking part will not be a direct payment from the Government but, hopefully, a higher price from buyers.
To take part, each foal must be weaned 3-4 weeks and eating creep meal for 6-8 weeks prior to the October sale, so that the foals are eating around 1lb of meal by the time they are sold. In addition, the foals are wormed, vaccinated, registered and microchipped. The foals have also been attended to by a farrier prior to sale.
Handling the foal has been an integral part of the initiative, with foals being halter trained and led for the past number of months. The most recent training sessions for the group have involved foals only, requiring that the dams be left at home. This has ensured that the weaning process has been a gradual one.
Teagasc adviser John Noonan has acted as facilitator for the West Mayo Equine Group since it was first set up in 2008.
"The group has been going extremely well since we first got going," he says. "We have expanded to 40-45 members."
The group consists of breeders, producers and riders, with a mix of Connemara, Irish Sport Horse and Irish Draught enthusiasts involved. Memberships of the group costs €50 a year.