Miriam and Benny Sheridan run the Randalstown Charolais herd near Navan in Co. Meath. The herd consists of 10 pedigree Charolais cows, 5 pedigree Charolais heifers, 4 commercial cows and 4 pedigree Charolais young bulls. The Sheridans breed animals destined for both the suckler and dairy herd. As a result, the traits that are most important in this herd when making breeding decisions are calving ease, fertility, docility, carcass and milk.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Replacement Index: Cows €80, Heifers €125, Calves €115

Calves/cow/year: 1.04

Calving Interval: 352

6-week calving rate: 47%

Heifers calved 22-26 months: 100%

% AI usage: 22%

They have been participating in the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP) since the scheme began in 2015 and have confirmed that they will continue with the rollover BDGP 2021. Miriam and Benny identified many benefits associated with the scheme and were particularly complimentary of the genotyping requirement. “We find that it is a great source of information when preparing our breeding plan.” When discussing the BDGP scheme with Benny, he highlighted “If you can’t see the scoreboard, you don’t know the score”.

Genomically testing a proportion of animals each year as well as essential data recording ensures they make the most informed breeding decisions. Most of the herd has been genotyped through the BDGP scheme. Miriam and Benny were ideal candidates to join Greenbreed and the DNA Calf Registration Pilot programme whereby all calves are sampled at birth. They find the programme excellent as it ensures all animals are genomically tested and parentage verified via DNA at birth.

The herd has been involved in the Whole Herd Performance Recording (WHPR) programme since 2016. The WHPR programme is available to all pedigree breeders. Herds signed up to the programme are required to have their whole pedigree herd independently assessed by ICBF annually. This independent assessment increases the reliability of the €uro-star indexes, thus increasing buyer confidence while also allowing their bulls to be displayed on the Stockbull Finder on the ICBF website.

Participation in schemes and programmes to date highlights Miriam and Benny’s drive to enhance the sustainability of the Randalstown herd.  The future for the herd is to continue what they are currently doing, while also placing greater emphasis on improving the marketing and advertising of their stock.