At the annual ICBF & Sheep Ireland Genetics Conference in Killenard on the 17th of January the winners and finalists of the FBD Eurostar €200 Commercial Herd Competition 2019 were announced.
For this competition, herds had the opportunity to enter after meeting several requirements. These herds were shortlisted on several KPIs, and subsequently were visited by reps from ICBF, Teagasc and The Irish Farmers Journal. Herd owners were interviewed about farming practices, breeding plans, grassland management and the future for the farm. Visual observations were made in relation to farm safety, attitude towards the environment and overall farm presentability. The three finalists for Munster are profiled below.
Eamonn operates a 30 cow store system near Darragh in Co Clare. The herd has an average Repl Index of €93 and achieved an excellent calving interval figure of 366 days in 2019. Health and Safety is very important to Eamonn, with excellent cattle handling facilities on-farm to reduce any risks. Producing high quality stock on a well laid out farm in a strong suckler county ensured this herd is a worthy finalist in this year’s competition.
Billy & Niall Nicholson
The Nicholson’s keep 90 cows in a suckler to beef system near Crosshaven in Co Cork. This herd has an average Repl Index of €100 and an impressive calving interval figure of 375 days for 2019. Heifers are selected based on their physical attributes and ranked on their Repl index. With a very clear breeding plan in place, focussed on the traits required for their system, this father and son team are an excellent example of a family farm in action.
Robert runs 70 cows in a mainly suckler to weanling system near the village of Lyre in North Cork. With an average Repl Index of €97, this herd achieved a calving interval of 375 days in 2019. Breeding is mainly carried out with stock bulls selected to compliment the cow type and to breed for a balanced replacement. A positive approach to suckler farming and attention to detail were stand-out features on this farm.
The winner of the Munster category of the FBD Eurostar €200 Commercial Herd Competition 2019 was announced on the day as Billy and Niall Nicholson. ICBF would like to congratulate the Nicholson’s on their win and acknowledge the continued support of FBD as without their sponsorship these awards could not take place.