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Irish Limousin Cattle Society, Kilglass, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

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Frank Gibson from Crooked Wood in Westmeath started back in livestock farming two years ago. Frank had
formerly been involved in tillage however decided to change his system. Different systems and breeds were carefully examined before any decision was reached.Frank decided that suckling appeared to be possibly the best option for him. The next decision was: which breed? He required cows that could calf easily with the minimum amount of assistance and produce calves that would suit the export trade.

Frank Gibson

After much research the decision was taken to use Limousin based on what the breed had achieved both in Ireland and the UK. Seventy Limousin crossbred heifers were purchased in several batches mainly from advertisements in the Farmers Journal. Eventually when enough heifers had been purchased two Limousin bulls were then purchased one from from the herd of Oonagh McLoughlin in Kells and one a son of Ideal 23. Both sires displayed good growth and conformation with a proven calving record.

The first crop of calves arrived early in Autumn 08 with very little assistance required which pleased Frank especially due to the fact that there are no buildings on the farm with the exception of one small shed . Frank designed a few outside pens in a corner of the field where he can direct any animal needing assistance in to. Calves were small at birth but extremely hardy and Frank comments that he was amazed how quickly they were up on their feet and sucking. “ We used to have Herefords years ago and I was slightly apprehensive about continental breeds especially calving but I must admit I was delighted with both the ease of calving and their hardiness”. All cattle are outwintered with the cows fed a mixture of silage, straw and barley just to ensure that the calves have plenty of milk and that the cows will go back in calf quickly.Even though the cows were all Lim X Fr and would have lost condition they still went back in calf quickly. All cows were vaccinated for Lepto and BVD and given copper and iodine boluses.

Limousin cross cows and calves on the Gibson farm

After being at grass until July and having been introduced to meal the calves were weaned.The cows were given a chance to dry off and put on some condition before beginning to calf again in late August.

The weanlings were grazed on the best grass along with meal until they were sold in November to Frank’s neighbour, Mr Sandro Garravelli. These calves weighed between 450kgs and 500kgs and the price received 1.80kg

Now Frank has his second crop of calves on the ground he has a good idea of suckling and what he wants in the future.

Limousin cross bull calf

Quality he knows is important and he has bought some 3⁄4 bred heifers which he is going to put in calf to an easy calving Limousin bull.

Frank also knows that what ever he does in the future Limousin is going to play a major role. He is the first to acknowledge that he might not have the top priced calves to sell but he has a calf per cow achieving a good price with a minimal cost.

“It is very pleasing to go out even on a wet cold day and see the calves sucking and thriving, what more could you ask for from a breed. What I had seen and heard about Limousin is definitely true”

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