'I am a complete believer in Charolais'
Beef breeder John Power says Irish Charolais can compete with the best in Europe
Performance in the commercial herd is hugely inmportant for pedigree bull customers and it would be hard to find a Charolais breeder with more confidence in the breed's quality than Waterford-based John Power.
"I have been at it for 25 years now, and I am a complete believer in the Charolais.
"If I can get a 400kg carcase under 16 months - and get all the bonus and quality benefits - that is what the industry wants and is good for the producer," he says.
The proof is certainly in the performance of the progeny of the 200 cow suckler herd on his farm at Clonea which belies the general perception of Charolais as the large heavy carcase which is being heavily penalised by the industry.
Almost all of the progeny are now being finished as young bulls under 16 months and heifers under 22 months.
The majority of the cows in the herd are Limousin cross, with a small number of Simmental cross. Up to seven Charolais stock bulls are kept on the farm.
The bulls are very carefully selected with particular scrutiny of the terminal traits which John admits has been critical to both the early finishing and very low mortality.
Mortality is 2pc or less "because all the cows are scored for condition are fed on a diet relative to the result with the higher score cows fed straw on alternate days," he says.