Ben and Elaine Ryall run the Fellfort Irish Angus herd in Fellfort, Watergrasshill, Co. Cork. The herd has been part of the Whole Herd Performance Recording program since July 2017. It consists of 80 pedigree cows, their progeny and three stockbulls. Each year approximately 40 high health status bulls are sold. The main buyers are dairy farmers. Such is the reputation of the Fellfort herd, a lot of the customers each year are repeat buyers.
Pedigree cattle have always been part of Fellfort farm and Ben has grown up with pedigree breeding. He is the third generation ‘Ryall’ breeding pedigree cattle which started with his grandfather’s Shorthorn herd. Ben’s father Jack continued breeding Shorthorns and in later years Angus and Hereford. Fellfort now concentrates solely on breeding pedigree Angus.
Following Jacks retirement, Ben and Elaine took over the herd which consisted of 25 pedigree Angus cows and commercial cattle. The decision was taken to focus on pedigree Angus and the herd has grown to present numbers by retaining the best females. A new stockbull is purchased each year. Most breeding is through stockbulls with some AI. Ben says that, “We have purchased many bulls from the Drumcrow herd (Frank McKiernan) and have found them to be very good bulls with lots of breed character. Presently we have two Drumcrow bulls and a very promising young Carrigroe bull which won the Aldi/ABP championship last year.” In the past, the Fellfort herd has won Championships and Inter-breed Championships at summer shows, but have not shown cattle for the last five years.
Drumcrow Live Wire, Drumcrow Montana and Carrigroe Noel, the stockbulls at Fellfort, have exceptional indexes. All three bulls are 5 star within the Angus breed and across all breeds on Replacement index, as well as being 5 star Terminal within the Angus breed.
There is a tremendous level of data recording within the herd. All calves have a calving difficulty score and birth weight as well as other information such as calf size, calf vigour and malpresentations. All service dates are recorded for the stockbulls and AI serves which gives vital information on gestation lengths of sires and dams. All bulls born in the herd are genotyped and sold with a genomic evaluation. All this information combined means that bulls offered for sale at Fellfort have reliability figures well above the average young bull for key traits of interest, namely calving difficulty and gestation. Given that most of Fellfort’s bulls are sold to dairy herds, the Ryalls are providing their customers with the most accurate figures possible on the two most important traits (calving difficulty and gestation) for the dairy farmer.
What attracted you to WHPR?
“It certifies that our herd is run and managed correctly and that the data we input is true and correct. We also think that the StockBull Finder will become a very important tool to sell bulls. We know new customers have found us through the StockBull Finder this year. Our herd visit was completed over 2 days, which ran very smoothly and professionally.
It is paramount that the buyers have confidence in the reliability of the information provided and that the data imputed is correct. We run our Pedigree herd commercially, and having repeat customers to buy our stock, tells its own story. Our farm and herd is frequently used to showcase Angus cattle to various interested foreign and Irish groups.”