Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Blonde d'Aquitaine cow crowned champion of champions

One of the Blonde cows in the Scaughmolin herd where the RDS Champion of Champions was bred.
One of the Blonde cows in the Scaughmolin herd where the RDS Champion of Champions was bred.

Martin Ryan

Blonde d'Aquitaine breeder, Sean Harpur admits to being one of the most "surprised" in the Irish pedigree breeding fraternity when informed that there was a "Champion of Champions" in his small herd.

"I am only a very small Blonde breeder, with a few pedigree cows," says Sean, who keeps a mainly commercial suckler Limousin cross herd on his farm at Bannow, Co Wexford. He spends most of his time doing contract work for other farmers in the area.

However, he has been pleasantly "surprised" that he is to receive the RDS Champion of Champions award for Scaughmolin D90494, one of the four pedigree Blonde d'Aquitaine cows in the herd, after the seven-year-old was chosen by the ICBF for this year's Replacement index (Eurostar) award.

Sean's cow, Scaughmolin D90494, has a Euro value of €140, making her the highest replacement index HerdPlus Blonde d'Aquitaine cow in the country.

This means that she has a Eurostar rating of 5 stars within the Blonde d'Aquitaine breed and 5 stars across all beef breeds. She has an average calving interval of 378 days and is currently in her fifth lactation. She is sired by Blackwater Solvit.

Bred in the Scaughmolin Blonde d'Aquitaine herd of Dessie Green, Murrinstown, Co Wexford, she was purchased by Sean as a heifer.


"I like the Blondes because I find there is no trouble with calving. With the contracting it is rarely that I am on the farm for a calving and they are never any trouble - we rarely use the calving jack now. We haven't used it at all this year," he says.

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"We would have the cows in good condition coming into the winter and feed hay coming up to calving; so we'd usually get handily calved and hardy calves," he says.

He has a preference for the British bloodlines over the French for Blondes.

"I find that the British Blonde is a more compact animal and the French are a bit harder to finish for beef and that is what it is all about."

Most of the progeny from the Blondes are kept on the farm in the commercial suckler herd. "If we get a good bull I would keep him for breeding," adds Sean.

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