|Christy Comerford Suckler Farm Report
Runner up in this year’s Irish Charolais Cattle Society suckler herd’s competition went to Christy Comerford from Castlewarren, Co. Kilkenny. Christy runs 90 suckler cows alongside his well-known Knockmahon pedigree Charolais herd which is made up of 50 breeding females. He bought his first Charolais heifer when he was just 6 years of age and what a wise purchase it proved to be.
In 2014 Christy won the supreme Charolais champion at the Tullamore National Livestock Show with his homebred heifer, Knockmahon Hyacinth. More recently he exported a consignment of 8 pedigree Charolais cattle to the long established Harestone herd in Scotland, which included a very promising young bull sired by Inverlochy Ferdie.
The system of production in the suckler enterprise is calf – weanling. The herd is 100% spring calving, with the weanlings being sold of the farm in the autumn months. The cows are predominantly Charolais cross, with a smaller number of Limousin and Simmental cross cows throughout the herd. The majority of the replacement females are bought in, with a small percentage kept within in the herd annually. One thing that must be noted from this farm is the weight for age of the Charolais calves coming of the Charolais cross cows, versus the weight for age of the Charolais calves coming of the other breeds of cows. The Charolais cross cows are without doubt weaning the heaviest calves.
The two stock bulls in use within the suckler herd at present are high terminal index Charolais sires. The first bull is Knockmahon Flynn who was bred by Christy himself. Sired by Vagabond out of a Lyonsdemesne Tzar bred cow, Flynn has proven himself as a tremendous weanling producer over the past few years. The second bull is Gallaway Dallas, a 7 year old son of Lyonsdemesne Tzar. Dallas has acquired himself a 5 star terminal index of €146 and a calving figure of 7.2%.
The weight gain and quality of the Charolais weanlings on this farm can only be described as outstanding. Last year’s weanlings recorded an average daily live weight gain of 1.48kg/day from birth. They went on to sell at an average weight of 430kgs at an average price of €1250 (2.90c/kg). As well as this, Christy has picked up the red rosette for the best pen of weanlings in Kilkenny mart for the past number of years.
This year’s ICBF calving report shows Christy’s herd with a calving interval of 388 days, which is well below the national average of 412 days. The number of calves being produced per cow in the herd is exceptionally good at 0.91, which is within the top 20% nationally. This means that if Christy calves down 100 cows, he will have 91 live calves to sell versus the national average of 79. His mortality rate is also incredibly low at 2%, which ranks within the top 15% nationally, a remarkable low figure for a one man operation.
For top quality cattle, outstanding farm management, on farm efficiency and picturesque views, you will not witness much greater than what is on this farm. The progression and all-round performance within this herd can only be described as exemplary.