The Council of the Irish Charolais Cattle Society selected Patrick Stephens of the Rosanna Charolais herd as their National Hall of Fame nominee for 2023. The awards ceremony took place on Sunday last in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, at which all nominees received their awards.
The Rosanna herd has become well recognised throughout Ireland and the British Isles as a noted source of quality stock since it’s establishment in the mid 1970s.
Patrick was one of the early members of the Irish Charolais Cattle Society, starting off with a lifetime membership in the spring of 1976. Over the years, the herd has gone from strength to strength under Patrick’s stockmanship.
In the early years, Rosanna herd won many fatstock show championships in locations such as Rathdowney, Ashford, Baltinglass and Edenderry. The herd has also won many pedigree Charolais championships such as Tinahely, Tullow, Tullamore, Naas and Goffs.
Over the years, the herd has used some notable breeding bulls such as Rosanna Vulsain, Rosanna Fameux and more recently Rosanna Olmetta. A bull that has made a lasting impression on the Rosanna Charolais herd is Fameux. After being used across the herd, he was sold to fellow pedigree Charolais breeders Cliftonpark Charolais herd in Worcestshire, England. While in the UK, Fameux continued to have a prolific impact siring Cliftonpark Madoc who topped the Welshpool Charolais sale in 2017. His bloodline can still be found throughout the Rosanna breeding females today.
In recent years, many Rosanna bred bulls have sold to pedigree herds in the UK. Rosanna Jupiter, probably the best known of these, was sold to the Caylers Charolais herd owned by the Barker family in Hertfordshire, England. Jupiter went on to breed exceptionally well at Caylers with sons topping sales across the UK for the past five years. In 2020, Jupiter himself won the Great British Charolais Summer Show. Six sons of Jupiter stand in pedigree herds in the UK today, with grandsons picking up championship awards at the recent Stirling bull sales.
Rosanna bloodlines have had a lasting and positive impact on many herds throughout the Ireland and the UK. Two well-known successful herds who purchased foundation females from Rosanna are Dromiskin and of course Ashleigh. The iconic Ashleigh Admiral who sold for €20,000 and the Highland show champion Ashleigh Victor are both descendants from the herd’s foundation cow Rosanna Hazel.
Today, Patrick runs the herd on a strictly commercial basis to produce sound quality stock with high health status, that go on and do well in other herds. All cows, must calf every year, have good milk, temperament and are bred to the best bulls that can be sourced with strict selection on function and breed character. The objective of the herd is to produce Charolais that are easy calving, have high growth rates with good feed conversion.
Patrick still travels in search of new bloodlines to enhance the Rosanna herd. Over the years, he has gained a vast knowledge of the breed which he shares with many other breeders today. He is a worthy recipient of this year’s award and the Society is honoured to have selected him as their nominee.