Charlie Joyce farms with his wife Marian & their daughter Róisin in Corofin, Co. Galway. They are predominately suckler farmers but also run a small sheep operation which is principally run by Róisin.
The herd consists of approximately 65 to 70 cows, made up of a wide range of breeds and includes five pedigree Limousin cows. The cows are very milky and Charlie goes for a large framed, well muscled Limousin bull to put shape into his calves, at the moment three pedigree Limousin bulls run with their herd..
The farmland is 5 miles away from their home so easy calving is critical and all three Limousin bulls have proved to be easily calved.
Secondly the calves are very vigorous at birth and are up sucking from the start. Between this and easy calving the labour input is kept to a minimum and calves go on to thrive.
This is an autumn calving operation with calves weaned and kept on the farm until 10 – 11 months old. They flesh easily and sell at weights from 470 – 490kg on average. They have great shape and length and are in high demand in the marts.
Charlie sells both off the farm and at local marts. At a recent sale in Gort mart this year he sold 4 weanling bulls to a top price of €1480 for 465kg or €3.18 per kg. The 4 averaged €1378 @ 467kg or €2.95 per kilo. He returned a week later with 6 more weanlings and achieved a similar average.
There is a great demand this year for quality weanlings and the difference in price between quality and poorer cattle was never as obvious. This year’s crop left a great return on the cow for the year.
With high demand for weanling Limousin heifers, they too are sold in the Autumn with the bulls (either at home or in the mart). The Joyces’ heifers are in demand for finishing and for breeding – leaving an excellent return on the cow.
A Limousin bull is the 1st choice as they are easily calved, vigorous calves and go on to develop great muscle and shape and are in demand come time to sell.
Many thanks to Charlie, Marian & Róisin – we wish you continued success. Thanks also to Tricia Kennedy for the photographs and video.