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‘I felt there was more value in breeding Belgian Blues than in dairy’ – Tim O’Donovan’s switch has been vindicated by a record-breaking rake of rosettes

West Cork farmer keeps just 15 pedigree Blues beside a commercial beef enterprise but has won more than 1,000 first prizes

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Prize-winning: Dan O’Donovan with the Belgian Blue herd founded by his father Tim in Gortnamuckla, Dunmanway, Co Cork. Photos: David Creedon

Prize-winning: Dan O’Donovan with the Belgian Blue herd founded by his father Tim in Gortnamuckla, Dunmanway, Co Cork. Photos: David Creedon

'The quality, the width and the muscle is what does it for me,' says Dan

'The quality, the width and the muscle is what does it for me,' says Dan

'I’d like to focus on is keeping the height coming'

'I’d like to focus on is keeping the height coming'

A Belgian Blue cow

A Belgian Blue cow

A cow and calf

A cow and calf

The mixed O'Donovan herd

The mixed O'Donovan herd

Dan is heavily involved, despite having a full-time off-farm job

Dan is heavily involved, despite having a full-time off-farm job

Some Blues grazing alongside the commercial beef herd

Some Blues grazing alongside the commercial beef herd

Dan with some of the vast array of awards the O'Donovans have won

Dan with some of the vast array of awards the O'Donovans have won

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Prize-winning: Dan O’Donovan with the Belgian Blue herd founded by his father Tim in Gortnamuckla, Dunmanway, Co Cork. Photos: David Creedon

‘Some of the farmers around here probably thought I was crazy going from a dairy herd into Belgian Blues, but I was never too worried what they thought,” says Tim O’Donovan of his decision to exit milking after his herd was wiped out with BSE in 2002.

The West Cork man’s switch has been successful financially, and it has also paid off in the show rings. He holds the unique distinction of having won more than 1,000 first prizes, including at least 30 Overall championships and several All-Ireland awards.


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