Why should I buy Charollais? This is a question that is repeatedly asked by farmers who wish to increase their profit margin in a very constructive and challenging market.
First introduced as a terminal lambing sire almost 30 years ago, the Irish Charollais Sheep Society was founded in 1990.
The core function of the society is the promotion and development of the breed within the island of Ireland.
Next year, it will celebrate its 30th anniversary and therefore, marking 30 years of successful and recognized breeding from Ireland’s leading terminal sire.
Originally, the Charollais breed originates from Charolles and Saóne-et-Loire region in the East Central region of France.
A Charollais sheep is typically a medium to large size breed with a pinkish/greyish head that is largely free of wool.
They will excel in both lowland and hill flocks which make them versatile to today’s farmer and a dominant force to compete with. They are a polled breed with a wedge-shaped well-muscled back.
Charollais are renowned because of;
- Ease of lambing - means minimal stress to both ewe and the lamb, which results in a vigorous lamb keen to suck;
- Hardiness that requires a low labour and maintenance input so are ideal for out-farming or those that also work off-farm;
- Lambs grow rapidly and are therefore quicker to finish;
- Make ideal store lambs as weigh heavier without excess fat cover giving better kill out grades;
- Have superb cross bred carcasses for excellent conformation and kill-out percentages;
- Ability to produce superior quality replacement ewes.
The Charollais breed continues to excel in popularity in Ireland. The society is delighted to announce that this year’s premier sale will be held at Tullamore Livestock Mart on Saturday, July 27th.
“The tough decision was made to relocate as it was felt by the committee that Tullamore is a more central location to all farmers travelling from the four corners of the country.” a society spokesperson explained.
“This will provide a greater opportunity for both commercial and pedigree buyers to purchase their Charollais rams for the upcoming breeding season.”
The predominant anticipated change is that the pre-sale show will now be held on the Friday evening.
“This will give both sellers and buyers are more relaxed atmosphere on the Saturday morning to view entries.”
It is anticipated that this year, approximately 220 pedigree registered Charollais rams and ewes will be on offer. Rams will consist of both lambs and hoggets and this will be the same for the female classes.
For those intending to enter the Charollais breed, this is the ideal opportunity to purchase your foundation stock of five registered females to join the society. “You will need the all-important ram to produce your own 2020 champions!!”
“This is your chance to have access to the top rams from some of the best bloodlines currently within the country.”
Ms. Deborah Whitcher of the highly acclaimed Galtres flock from the UK, has accepted an invitation to judge at this year’s sale.
Currently, within the society, there are almost 230 pedigree Charollais breeders located throughout the country.
A significant amount of breeders are active participants in the Sheep Ireland LambPlus scheme, which is used as an aid to assist farmers select rams with high Euro-Star evaluations that will generate better returns for their investment.
All sale catalogues this year will be printed with Euro-Star evaluations to make the process of ram selection more straightforward.
Charollais are the top choice of commercial farmers and producers due largely to their hardiness when lambing outdoors and their adaptability to suit various farming systems.
Throughout the summer months, it has always been a strong tradition amongst breeders that local shows would be attended and participation in the showing classes is always encouraged.
In many areas, local shows are the traditional heartland of social gatherings and therefore a window for breeders to advertise and promote their stock to prospective buyers.
The Charollais Society always has a strong presence in the NSBA sheep tunnel at the National Ploughing Championships.
“Attending these events also gives us, as breeders, the opportunity to meet with and discuss the merits of the Charollais breed with farmers who are currently using rams or giving those who are deciding on their next terminal sire a gentle nudge in our direction.” added the spokesperson.
To summarise, as the superb growth rates and increased muscling in lambs have been widely documented throughout the years, this has affirmed its position as the leading terminal breed sire in Ireland.