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Sean Galvin and his daughters Aine and Deirdre run the Terelton pedigree Blonde d’Aquitaine herd in Terelton, Macroom, Co. Cork. Blonde d’Aquitaines were first purchased in 1996 and numbers have grown to 21 Blonde d’Aquitaine cows, with the majority of heifers born on the farm retained for breeding. This combined with the use of AI, allows the farm to operate as a closed herd which Sean says, “Has helped to achieve a high herd health status and is very much appreciated by customers who purchase young bulls and heifers from the Terelton herd.”

The herd uses 100% AI. Sean explains, “The breeding policy is to use bulls that will produce well-muscled early maturing stock with good maternal traits. Fertility, ability to calve and milk are regarded as the most important traits in the female stock. Docility and good feet are also regarded as very important traits. The policy is to cull ruthlessly in order to achieve a docile herd with correct features. Difficult calving bulls are avoided.”

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Years of using high index genetics combined with data recording has put the herd in a strong position within the breed. This can be seen in the herds performance and indexes. The herd has an exceptional average calving interval of 368 days which is within the top 5% nationally. Added to this are the impressive terminal indexes throughout the herd. The Blonde d’Aquitaines have an average terminal index of €132 which is 5 stars across all breeds. Carcass weight makes up a large part of this index and it stands at 28kgs and is in the top 5% across all breeds. These figures have good reliabilities because of the high level of recording. All calves born on the farm have a birthweight recorded and all insemination dates are recorded, giving gestation lengths. This is vital information for calving difficulty and it results in bulls sold out of the Terelton herd with higher reliabilities for these traits. This combined with genotyping and Whole Herd Performance Recording results in bulls sold with the highest reliabilities possible without having any progeny on the ground.

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Sean commented, “In recent years the bulls that are not sold for breeding are kept and finished to utilise the full potential of the Blonde breed. This has proved very successful as Blonde sires can increase the output of any suckler farm with weight for age, kill out % and grades achieved.”

The herd has been very successful and in December 2015 the Gene Ireland Programme purchased Terelton Issac BA2357. He is bred from an Ardclone Pyxis cow and sired by Hiver. He has a 4 star Replacement index of €91 and 4 star Terminal Index of €126. His dam, Terelton Wanda was born in 2005 and first calved at 24 months. A daughter of Wanda, Terelton Dolly is sired by Oulou and also has a very high replacement index of €132. This is within the top 1% in the Blonde d’Aquitaine breed. Dolly also calved down at 24 months of age and has since had 7 calves. She has an exceptional average calving interval of 368 days. Sons of Terelton Wanda have been sold as stock bulls to some of the top Blonde d’Aquitaine herds in the country.

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Why did you join WHPR?

“I saw the benefit of regular measurement and recording of the performance of the herd. The visit went well and I found the recorder helpful and informative. It is very important that pedigree herds have accurate and reliable data, so that the best performing animals are highlighted and buyers can make judgements accordingly. The herd has won the Irish Blonde d’Aquitaine herd competition on several occasions and would be regarded as one of the top Blonde herds in the country.”