Enda and Kevin Moloney operate a pedigree Limousin herd under the ‘Fermoyle’ prefix, situated outside Broadford, Co Clare. The herd consists of 16 pedigree Limousin cows, 8 commercial cows and 11 pedigree young bulls. Their main market for the pedigree bulls produced on the farm is suckler herds. For this reason, there is an emphasis placed on both the Replacement and Terminal Index.
Enda and Kevin having been gradually improving the herd’s figures over the past number of years with 2020 being a particular good year. Currently, the average Replacement Index of the pedigree cows is €90 and €124 for the pedigree heifers. This is up from a base of €80 for the cows and €77 for the heifers in 2016. In terms of fertility, they have been making tremendous strides. The average calving interval has decreased from 411 days in 2016 to 361 in 2020 and they now rank in the top 10% nationally. In 2020, they achieved a calves per cow per year figure of 1.05 which is an increase from 0.89 in 2016.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
Replacement Index: Cows €88, Heifers €118, Calves €123
Calving interval: 361
6-week calving: Spring 33% Autumn 55%
Heifers calved 22-26 months: 50%
Enda has been signed up to the HerdPlus service since 2008 and is engaged in high levels of data recording through the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme-Sucklers (BEEP-S) and the Whole Herd Performance Recording (WHPR) programme. Enda has been getting the Fermoyle herd independently assessed by ICBF annually since 2017 and has been linear scoring his pedigree stock since 2013.
One of the benefits of being involved in the WHPR programme is having the ability to use the ICBF Stockbull Finder as a sales tool. Currently, 6 Fermoyle bulls can be found on the ICBF Stockbull Finder.
Enda and Kevin use a combination of AI and Stockbulls. When selecting bulls, they opt for bulls with good maternal lines in terms of milk and fertility, as well as easy calving with good conformation and growth rates to produce shapely weanlings.
The herd is predominantly Autumn calving. Replacement females are kept from the best cows in the herd for milk and fertility each year. In 2020, 50% of these replacement females coming into the herd are calving down between 22 and 26 months.
Enda has confirmed that he will be participating in the BDGP 2021 rollover as he found the original programme worked very well in his herd. As a result of the genotyping requirement of the BDGP scheme, Enda has continued genotyping a proportion of animal each year.
As part of the BEEP-S programme, Enda and Kevin weighted the cows and calves and chose to complete meal feeding and fecal sampling as additional actions. On the most recent Weaning Performance Report, the cows in the Fermoyle herd were achieving an average cow liveweight of 700kg with an average weaning efficiency of 38%. The highest weaning efficiency was on an 8th calver at 47%. The average 200-day weight was 255kg for females and 270kg for males.
Going forward, Enda and Kevin have said that they hope to maintain numbers and focus on improving the quality and efficiency in the herd every year. They hope to do this by selecting replacements from their best cows as well as choosing the right bulls for their system.