Scottish ‘super breed’: Meath farmer taking different approach to beef breeding
Louise Hogan meets a Meath farmer taking a different approach on beef breeding
Visitors to the Cosgrave farm at Enfield, Co Meath are naturally full of questions not just about the unusual eye-catching round shed but also what is inside.
Jim and his son Jimmy Cosgrave were travelling over to the UK for the National Beef Association’s beef events for several years and it was a few visits to farms in the region with Luing cattle that caught their eye.
“We thought they were a super breed,” they explain.
The Luing cattle were bred by the Cadzow brothers on the island of Luing in Argyll off the west coast of Scotland for their ruggedness. They selected some of the best Beef Shorthorns for their fleshing qualities and the Highlander for their ruggedness and hardiness. The continued to follow good lines and it evolved in to the Luing breed which was recognised as a breed in its own right in the UK in 1965.
There are other farmers with the Luing breed throughout the island of Ireland.
“We had Black Angus cattle on the farm and we were finding it quite hard to find a true Angus and when they were up for sale, they were at high prices so they were at a premium,” says Jimmy. “It was getting harder and harder to source these cattle. We decided to have a closer look and we went to a sale and bought 11 heifers in ’08.”
He explains they’ve since brought in four lots including 20 in-calf two-year-old heifers last November.
“They are easy cattle to work with temperament wise, they’re very fertile, we’d have a high percentage of twins from them. They are nice handy medium-sized weights, they don’t grow too big,” he says as farmers gathered on the Enfield property for the ICSA and Knowledge Transfer beef national event and farm walk. “We’re not firm believers in the huge big continental cows.