Junior Farmer: James Kelly


Catherina meets James Kelly, a 16-year-old who is making waves on the Simmental show circuit. The Clare native has already attained €3,800 for one of his own home-bred heifers.

Junior Farmer: James Kelly

  • ADDED
  • 3 mths ago

Catherina meets James Kelly, a 16-year-old who is making waves on the Simmental show circuit. The Clare native has already attained €3,800 for one of his own home-bred heifers.

Name: James Kelly

Location: Ballynacally, Co. Clare

Age: 16-year-old

When was your passion for farming first sparked? For as long as I remember, I have had a strong love for farming. From the age of four or five, I was always out doing the herding and the feeding with my father. My Grandad also influenced my love of farming and I spent many summers, with him in our Massey Ferguson doing the jobs.

What type of farming do you and your family engage in? We are beef farmers and have a herd of around 25 commercial suckler cows along with 20 pedigree Simmental cows. In the last two year, we have begun an Angus herd with our first calf being born in January 2018. Our commercial herds comprises of Limousin; Charolais; and Simmental-X breeding females. We purchased our stock bull, Kilbride farm Glencloy 15, two years ago; he is currently running with both the pedigree Simmental cows and the commercials.

Both his pedigree calves and his commercial calves are showing great potential combining size; length; width; shape and style. We sell our pedigree bulls and heifers at pedigree sales held in Roscommon and Tullamore every Spring and Autumn and we sell our commercial heifers at the Simmental-X heifer sale in Gort every October and we finish all our commercial bulls under 16 months.

Tell some more information about your farm? Originally, farming part-time, Dad would have bought bullocks through to slaughter. Angus-X cows were the first cows in the herd. Later Belgian Blue and Limousin X Friesian cows were crossed with a Limousin bull. Since I started farming, Simmental; Charolais and Limousin-X cows were crossed with a Simmental bull, leading us to where we are today with the commercials.

Subsequently, we decided to purchase a pedigree Simmental heifer; Luddenmore Willow was bought at Roscommon Premier Simmental sale in November 2010 and was in-calf. She calved on New Year’s Day 2011 and this founded our pedigree Simmental herd,” Mount Simmentals”. After Willow, we bought her comrade, Luddenmore Wishful Polly, who has been extremely lucky for us and is the grandmother of Mount Hawkeye, National Ploughing bull Champion 2017. Over the years, we have built up our pedigree herd with females from herds such as Curaheen, Celtic, Knockane and most recently Woodhall.

Do you own any of the animals in the herd today? have three of my own cows, one commercial cow and two pedigree cows. The commercial was my first cow, purchased in 2013 as a weanling and has been extremely lucky for me and is rearing her third calf. The foundation of my own pedigree herd came in the form of Clonagh Glitzy Rubystar and is rearing her first calf. In 2016, I purchased Curaheen Brooklyn at the Curaheen Dispersal sale. Her first daughter, Mount Horizon was reserve female champion at the premier Simmental sale last month and sold for €3800; she is the first pedigree animal to be sold off one of my own cows.

What are some of your responsibilities on the farm? There is very little I’m not involved with on the farm. The work the pedigrees require is my responsibility such as training, washing, clipping etc. As I’m in TY this year, it allows me to have the time help with work in the evenings. I do most of the farm work myself during breaks such as midterm and Easter and at the weekends, we usually have a lot of work to do like cleaning shed; dehorning calves and dosing for example. My Dad and I work well together and get these done quickly.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of farming for you? There are so many highlights of farming it’s hard to choose just one, between going to agricultural shows with our cattle and seeing the cattle happy out in fresh green fields of grass during the summer. My favourite thing about farming is seeing a real stand out calf thrive and develop from week to week. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Do you want to continue to farm as you grow older? / Would you like to study agriculture? : Absolutely, no doubt about it I want to continue farming as I grow older. However, I would like to also pursue a career in something like Agricultural Science; Genetics or Veterinary Medicine.

Main Photo: Jennie Aherne.

If you would like to feature your little junior farming star on That’s Farming, email catherina@thatsfarming.com with a short bio.

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