National Charolais Show – Sunday the 13th of August at the AIB National Livestock Show in Tullamore 

"Charolais deliver weight for age like no other breed"

Pictured at the recent farm walk in Donegal are, from left to right - Nevan Mc Kiernan (ICCS), Aidan Murray (Teagasc), Andrew Palmer (Suckler Farmer), Brendan Mc Feely (Chairman Donegal Charolais Club), Raymond Palmer (Suckler Farmer), Gary Fisher (Teagasc), Basil Bothwell (ICBF).

The Donegal Charolais club held a farm walk on Raymond and Margaret Palmer's suckler farm in Castlefin, Co. Donegal on Wednesday evening last. The Palmer's run a sixty cow suckler herd, which is split between autumn and spring calving. The herd of cows is made up of a mixed batch of Simmental, Limousin and a small number of Charolais cross cows. There is two Charolais stock bulls run on the farm. Raymond's explanation for constantly using Charolais is simple " Charolais deliver weight for age like no other breed". The current stock bull on the farm is the Blelack Digger son, Carrickbrack96 Jordn, who was purchased at the 2015 Christmas Cracker show and sale. His first crop of calves look extremely promising.

Carrickbrack96 Jordn


Progeny of the Blelack Digger sired stock bull

The average calving interval of the herd is 368 days, Raymond hopes to get this below 365 days this year. The number of calves produced per cow per year is 0.97, which is up there with the best performing suckler herds in the country. The male progeny on the farm is always sold as yearling's, while the females are finished of the farm between 18 - 24 months. The advantage of using Charolais is they give Raymond phenomenal weight for age at a year old, and the heifers kill out ideally for market specifications at 20 months.

10 month old Charolais cross weanling bulls by a Sesame bred stock bull

The eleven Charolais weanling bulls which were born last autumn weigh on average 464 kg. They have a average daily live weight gain of 1.35 kg/day since birth. Since weaning in May, they have gained on average 1.66 kg/day. The remarkable thing about their performance, is the fact they were only introduced to meal five week's ago. Currently they are on 4 kg/head per day. Their primary diet is top quality grass, which on the Palmer's farm is exceptional. These weanling's are the progeny of Trenamullen Homer, a Sesame bred Charolais bull which was used in the herd.

16 month old Charolais cross heifers sired by the Sesame bred stock bull

Below are the kill out's of some Charolais cross heifers which were finished on the farm recently:

24 Months U3= 435 kg
25 Months U4- 358 kg
24 Months U3+ 345 kg
24 Months U3= 345 kg
24 Months R3+ 346 kg
24 Months U3= 382 kg

A enjoyable and informative night was had by all, the cattle and the hospitality certainly did not disappoint. Speakers on the night included Basil Bothwell from ICBF, who talked through what buyer's should look for when purchasing young bulls. Nevan Mc Kiernan from the Irish Charolais Cattle Society discussed the highest replacement and terminal index Charolais bulls currently available in Irish AI. Suckler farmer Raymond Palmer and his Teagasc adviser Gary Fisher outlined the performance statistics of the cattle on the farm and the factors which affect their performance. They also explained the grassland management practices implemented on the farm. The final speaker on the night was Aidan Murray, well known Teagasc beef specialist. Aidan analysed the herd's key performance indicator's and explained how well the herd compares with the National suckler herd.

Suckler farmers at the event look through the impressive Charolais cross weanling's on the farm


Quality Turnout At North West Charolais Calf Championship

Despite the harsh weather conditions, almost 50 Charolais cattle turned out at Inishowen agricultural show over the weekend. Judge for the day, Mr. Will Shortt of the Woodpark pedigree Charolais herd described the cattle in front of him as "as good as you would see anywhere".

Roughan Louis 2 - Champion at Inishowen 

Local breeder Tommy Mc Laughlin took home the overall Charolais champion with his June 2015 born stock bull, Roughan Louis 2. The impressive two year old was later selected as the best bull of the show. Sired by Roughan Echo 2 and out of a Roughan bred dam by Roughan Divin, Louis 2 was purchased privately by Mr. Mc Laughlin for his Islandview herd earlier this spring.

Bostonia Joy ET - Reserve champion at Inishowen

Reserve champion & senior female champion went to Bostonia Joy Et, a August 2014 born daughter of Elgin Davinci from a Major bred dam. Exhibited by the Feeney brother's from County Sligo, Joy is no stranger to the show ring having picked up a string of red tickets and championships as a heifer. She was shown accompanied by her Pirate bred bull calf at foot.

Liscally Magic ET - North West Charolais Calf Champion 

In the hotly anticipated north west Charolais calf championship, it was Liscally Magic ET bred by Jon & Lewis Regan from County Leitrim who came out on top. This September 2016 born son of Balmyle Vagabond and a home bred Padirac dam was tapped out as champion by Mr. Shortt after standing top of the line in a strong senior male calf class. In reserve was Pat Mc Clean's October 2016 born heifer calf, Roughan Madilin by his home bred stock bull, Roughan Dix De Coe and a home bred dam by Roughan Fleming.

To cap of a great day for Charolais, it was the Fury action bred Charolais X heifer owned by Roy & Clive Stevenson who claimed the overall commercial champion.

Sagesse Martha ET - Champion in Riverstown

Meanwhile in County Sligo, Father and son duo, Brendan and Niall Canning had a productive day at Riverstown show. Hitting the headlines and securing the champion Charolais for the Rosses Point men was their September 2016 born heifer, Sagesse Martha ET, a french bred daughter of  Adonis and Contesse.

Ireland to host the 2019 World Charolais Technical Congress

At the recent World Charolais Technical Congress in Mexico, it was agreed that the 2019 World Charolais Technical Congress will be held here in Ireland. It was also a special occasion for our President, Mr.Kevin Maguire, as he was elected in as vice-president of the Charolais International Congress.

It is expected that the event will be held in August of 2019 to coincide with the National Livestock Show in Tullamore. The week long event will give Irish breeders the opportunity to showcase the quality of Charolais cattle we have here in Ireland on a World stage. The Congress will be made up of delegates from countries all over the World. For more information on Charolais International go to their website at https://www.charolaisinternational.com/

Attendees at the 2017 Charolais International AGM in Mexico