Producing U-grade beef from Shorthorn steers may appear far fetched to many finishers to be achievable, but John Clarke has proved it possible with the progeny from his herd in Roscommon.
He has achieved a daily live weight gain of 2.1 kg, carcase weight of 380kg at 15 months of age and a kill out of 59pc.
It all adds up to a performance more akin to what is targeted from continental cross breeds by the majority of the best beef farmers.
The statistics are driven by the performance of male progeny of the herd sire, Doon Erasmus under progeny testing carried out at Tully, Co Kildare as part of the ICBF Gene Ireland programme.
The test involved 57, June, July & August born bulls by 22 sires across eight breeds slaughtered at 13-15 months.
The average carcass weight for the group was 352kg.
The average daily gain for the group during their 84-day performance test period was 2.2 kg per head per day.
The average growth rate within the group ranged from 0.86kg to 2.84kg per head per day. The average kill-out for the group was 57pc, with kill-out ranging from 51pc to 61pc.
The key figures from the Doon Shorthorn performance were:
Sire Doon Erasmus EMS
Age 15 months
Dry Matter Intake 14.85kg/day
Average Daily Gain 2.1kg/day
Feed Efficiency 7.07kg
Initial Liveweight 430kg
Final Liveweight 640kg
Carcass Weight 380kg Kill out 59pc
Carcass Conf & Fat U+ 3+
While John Clarke concedes that the position of the Shorthorn breed as a dominant dual-purpose breed on Irish farms has weakened significantly, more of the breed's focus is now concentrated on breeding for beef production and the Beef Shorthorn is finding its place among that sector.
More than 30,000 calves continue to be registered to Shorthorn dams annually and over 10,200 calves by Shorthorn sires are being born each year to the dams of breeds other than Shorthorn.
Friesian, Limousin and Angus cows are being crossed with Shorthorn sires, the official calf registrations confirm
Fewer and smaller Shorthorn herds are breeding to higher standards and international demand for pedigree stock has been driving the prices upwards.
Tommy Staunton, based in Kinvara, Co Galway, received €8,400 from a UK breeder in 2018 for a breeding heifer, Caramba Rothes Lovable, a full sister to the Herd's prolific show Champion Caramba Rothes Hottie.
This price set a new Irish record, which had been held by another full sister, Caramba Rothes Kissable, which had sold for €5,200 the previous year.
At the 2018 draft sale, which was conducted online, five Caramba Beef Shorthorn heifers, sold to a average of €7,380 all going to herds in the UK.
Irish breeders have paid close to €4,000 for pedigree Shorthorn bulls in recent years in strong competition for the top quality bloodlines.
Another Co Galway herd, Noel and Lisa O'Dowd's Creaga Herd at Creggs produced Creaga Heidi, an Irish Champion Shorthorn cow which retained the 'Miss Europe' title in the World Breeders Championship for successive years.
One of the prolific Shorthorn cows in John Clarke's Doon Herd