Michael Kinane – a third generation farmer from Ballyglass, Co. Tipperary - purchased four Limousin-cross-British Friesian cows from a local farmer in 2001.
Satisfied with the breed’s maternal and terminal qualities, he utilised an AI Limousin sire on a commercial cow in 2013 – mating which produced his highest-priced calf that season.
Subsequent to that, the Tipperary native decided to purchase pedigree females with Highlander and Epson bloodlines; he travelled to the Bannixtown Limousin Herd in Fethard where he soured his foundation females.
Seeing the benefits the pedigree cattle could offer, he gradually replaced all his commercial stock with pedigree cattle.
“Limousin can be successfully bred with any commercial or pedigree beef animal and they are also a super cross with Friesian cows,” Michael told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
“Limousin females are the most popular female suckler cow in Ireland and the UK which tells us it has excellent maternal and terminal abilities.” He added.
He sourced animals from Power Limousin – owned by Philip Crowe and John McInerney’s Drummin herd. It was here he acquired five heifers off John’s well-known breeding cow - Drummin Peach - the dam of Drummin Cliona and Drummin Veronica.
Then came the purchase of Milbrook Roe - a Greensons Gigglo off Milbrook Dawn belonging to the herd of William Smith - who has left a lasting legacy in the herd.
A heifer was purchased at the Roscrea pedigree sale from Tom Bailey of the Baileys herd; she produced an excellent line going back to Curraghree breeding. Other females were purchased from Pat Phelan - Curraghree Herd, Jim Parkinsons’ Marlhill Herd and more recently from the Grangeford herd of Gary Morrissey.
Michael, his wife Siobhán and kids - Seán (10), Gearoid (8), Cormac (6) and Aisling (5) – established a pedigree Angus herd in 2017 with the purchase of two heifers from John Lynch’s Portauns Herd.
Elegante Pedigree Livestock
The Elegante Pedigree Livestock comprises of twenty-five pedigree Limousins and two Angus heifers which will calve down this year. “I find this number blends in well with off-farm employment,” Michael said.
Their main objective is to breed a show-type animal that has good size, muscle and correctness along with a good head and ears.
“A big ear is a real bonus! The odd one can go for commercial use. I quite often have farmers looking to purchase pedigrees for commercial use!” Michael added.
Michael’s ideal animal is easy-fleshed and easy-managed; this is mainly due to his full-time off-farm commitments. A cow calves on her own, the calf sucks and the pair head off to grass – that’s his ideal scenario.
“Managing the feeding of the in-calf cow is important here to use the best bulls; we feed hay, straw and minerals a month before calving so we can be true to the Limousin breed - no hard calving!”
“Later in the year, pre-maternal cows graze tight so they get exercise before calving.” He added.
Michael mostly breeds for terminal, but knowing the breeding lines of bulls, helps him to select AI sires that are eligible for the BDGP scheme.
“I have roughly 30 different Limousin bulls in my AI tank probably typical of most farmers obsessed with breeding!”
“As any breeder will tell you, you can pick a bull to match your female - that’s where I get my satisfaction from, out of getting it right!”
“I love using different lines to see will they click – a practice that will become extinct because the pedigree breeder is not being rewarded financially for doing this.”
Some females are retained as replacements based on their pedigree, while other females and bulls are sold as surplus breeding stock.
“The main highlight is when every breeding bull and heifer does a good job for the buyer - that’s my objective and that’s the satisfaction in this game.”
Shows and Sales
The Kinanes have exhibited their cattle at agricultural shows over the years, with assistance and advice sought from John Lynch.
“Time constraints between work and family have restricted our presence at shows that but it’s something I’m hoping will change in the near future as we have 3 boys and a girl that might grab a halter!”
Michael – who is a member of the Irish Limousin Cattle Society and the South-East Limousin Club – is keen to encourage youth participation and was recently appointed as one of the YMA co-ordinators.
“We are hoping to recruit a good few young members to come forward soon and compete and enjoy the benefits of showing and of meeting new friends.”
Elegante Fancy took first place in her category at the Beef Expo in 2010 which is one of Michael’s fondest memories.
In addition to this, they have achieved several reserve junior championships and first prizes at the Premier sales and female championships at society sales; their top price to date at sales is €5,700 for a reserve junior champion.
“Many of our bulls and females have been sold to the UK and Northern Ireland.”
“Sales at home have surpassed that recently with the sale of an exceptional heifer to a very successful show team in Northern Ireland which we hope to hear a lot more of!”
Looking forward, the Kinanes short-term plan is to improve grass intake by reseeding more land in a bid to reduce costs.
“Our long-term plans are very uncertain due to Brexit and carbon emissions so it’s important to diversify but in what direction I’m not sure yet!” Michael concluded.
“Love Limousin and you will love everything that’s good about cattle” – Michael Kinane
If you are a cattle and/or sheep breeder and you want to share your story, email – email@example.com – with a short bio.