The South West Limousin Club embarked on a day excursion on Saturday 31st August, 2013. The trip took in two of the finest Limousin Herds in the country, Ardlea/Elite and Thomastown.
Our day started with an early morning pickup for members in Tralee, the bus moved on up through north Kerry into West Limerick picking up South West Club members as we went. Our first stop was in Mountrath and the wonderful farm of Dan and Edward Tynan. Kevin Bohan, the Farm Manager at this intensive farm was on hand to greet our travelling party.
Kevin graciously took time out of his very busy day and escorted us through the farm, which extends to in excess of 500 acres and carries over 600 head of cattle. The fantastic layout of the farm, with quality reseeded grass, an internal roadway that many rural dwellers would be proud of, and modern well ventilated sheds all of which compliment the quality of the cattle. As we walked through the farm we saw a great display of undoubtedly some of the best Limousin genetics in the country. The first group of cattle we came across were cross bred Limousin cows – that were doing a fine job on their spring born calves. The bull calves in this group will be sold as weanlings at the local mart in Mountrath, the heifer calves will be kept to breed on (as embryo carriers).
Across the farm roadway from this bunch was a field of cows that were running with one of the herd’s stock bulls the Udin son “Bouffy”. His dam Paulette is a Joueur daughter.
The next batch we met were the maiden heifers, ranging in age from one and half to two year olds. These were from the best AI Limousin sires available and also from Elite Abel daughters. Bouffy will run with them in November. Elite Abel is a homebred son of Grahams Samson, out of Ardlea Rita (an Ideal 23 daughter from Ballynerrin Maud).
The next group were the weanling heifers. These were predominately by Emerson and Elite Abel. Emerson is an Objat son, with back breeding to Valeureux and Juste. Emerson is producing very consistent correct cattle and is extremely easy calving. Moving on from these we saw the two year old heifers – the herd’s cows of tomorrow. A beautiful group, each one demonstrating the best the breed has to offer. As we travelled through the farm we encountered more cows with calves at foot.
Everyone was in awe at the uniformity of type in all the cattle and their docility. As we neared the end of our tour we came to the springing cows – many of whom were on the point of calving.
Elite Hope, Hostess and Hazel – three young heifers who already have amassed a bulk of red rosettes throughout the summer showing season were grazing in a paddock beside two impressive young Emerson sons.
We boarded our bus and headed to the Abbeyleix manor Hotel for Lunch, after which we travelled on to Kilkenny and to the home of the Thomastown herd.
The Thomastown herd is located in a beautiful setting of rolling hills in Kilkenny. Herd owner John Downey greeted us on our arrival. As we walked through another excellent herd John shared some great knowledge and farming practices used. Any farmer that achieves a first-time conception rate of over 68% is definitely a person to be listened too. John’s uses 100% AI.
John took us on a tour of his wintering facilities and then out to the impressive autumn calving cows. Many of these cows will be calving down in the next six weeks. Docility was again evident as the cows ignored us as we walked through them.
Next to these were a group with commercial calves at foot which highlighted the excellent quality of the Limousin cross.
We then moved on to see the Autumn 2012 born bulls - an impressive sight of in excess of thirty bulls. This group were from varied sires including On-dit, Bavardage, Armoric, Haltcliffe Dancer and Wilodge Tonka. While we all picked our favourite very few of us picked the same one due to the excellent uniform quality.
Next up were the autumn born heifer calves which were due to be weaned the next day. These were just as impressive as their male compatriots.
John always has his customers in his mind when choosing the sires of his calves. The customer has to be kept as priority number one. The majority of the bulls are sold at home with repeat buyers a great indication of satisfied customers.
As we travelled home all spoke about how both Kevin and John went beyond the call of duty with the amount of time, insight and advice they shared with us. No question or query went unanswered. We would like to take this opportunity to wish both herds every success for the future and to thank them most sincerely for their time and effort.