|“Charolais X British Friesian calves in huge demand”
Karl keane from Straffan, Co. Kildare is a 120 cow dairy farmer. For 15 years now he has been using Charolais bulls on his cows. The herd is comprised mostly of British Friesian crosses. The demand Karl has for his charolais calves every year is overwhelming. In the words of Karl himself “I could sell any amount of these charolais calves, the fact is I just don’t have enough of them”.
Since buying his first charolais bull, Karl has bought all his bulls from the same man ever since. “This way I know I’m getting a bull which suits my system, and most importantly a bull that’s easy calving”. In 15 years Karl has never had to section a cow and rarely loses a calf at birth. The bull in use at present is Williamstown Gerard, a son of ‘Cavelands Adam’ out of an ‘Excellent’ dam. The bull in use before that was a son of ‘Indurain’ out of a ‘CF 52’ dam. Karl could not compliment his bulls enough and is delighted with the returns his charolais calves are giving him.
Every year as the cows calve down, the calves are left on the cows for a week and then sold at a week old. This year the bull calves are averaging €350+ and the heifer calves are averaging€300+. This is the same every year says Karl “Some years I would get as far as €400 for my bull calves. I have the same men coming back buying calves of me for years now. The heifer calves make wonderful suckler replacements. The great beauty too is that my cows are back milking once a day from the day they calve down, and then when the calves are sold at a week old they are back milking twice a day. This way I’m not losing too much time or money from them not milking”.
With 2015 looming and quotas going, Karl is quick to point out, “If milk prices drop substantially, the extra money I get for my charolais calves will really make a difference to my overall profit.”