Michael Beattie and his wife, Claire, run a mixed beef, sheep and tillage enterprise at their 160-acre farm at Knockcroghery, Co; Roscommon where they have 35 suckler cows and followers 160 ewes and 50 hoggets for lambing each year, and 30 acres of barley and oats.
Having bought his first Limousin bull in 2012, Michael cites easy calving and excellent calf vigour and quality as his initial reason for changing to Limousin. His cows are predominately ¾ Limousin genetics. Michael sources his stock bulls and replacement heifers from local pedigree Limousin breeder Michael Gunn. His current stock bull is by Vagabond out of a Ferry cow.
With the exception of a student to help during the busy lambing period, Michael and Claire run the farm themselves and they are very impressed with the ‘easy care, high performing’ Limousin cattle.
“We have not had a C-Section on the farm in the last 6 years and as the percentage of Limousin increases in our herd, we have effectively eliminated any calving difficulty while consistently producing exceptionally high-quality calves”.
The dry cows are fed on straw and silage, with the main calving period between February / March. Creep feeding is not routine on the farm with only a small amount fed just prior to weaning. The growing and fattening diet is comprised 50% barley diet which includes their own grains plus a balancer and acid additive. Bull weanlings are sold directly after weaning through Roscommon mart, while the heifers are fattened under 24 months of age.
Having tried different breeds over the years, Michael is convinced that the Limousin has significant advantages.
“The Limousin X is an outstanding mother with exceptional maternal characteristics. She calves on her own and has plenty of milk to rear a very high-quality calf, without requiring additional concentrates and management. The Limousin plays a pivotal role in the viability of our suckler enterprise”.