Farmer Focus: Glenmore Salers


The Mulcahy family, Co. Limerick began their Saler dream in 2009 after stumbling across the breed at the National Ploughing Championships in 2005. They selected the breed for its ease of calving and outstanding pelvic conformation.

Farmer Focus: Glenmore Salers

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The Mulcahy family, Co. Limerick began their Saler dream in 2009 after stumbling across the breed at the National Ploughing Championships in 2005. They selected the breed for its ease of calving and outstanding pelvic conformation.

The breed's ability to thrive on marginal land and its ease of calving attracted the Mulcahy family - Strand Village, Newcastle West, County Limerick to Salers cattle.

Tom and his two sons - Ronan and Cian embarked on a new chapter after they visited the Salers cattle exhibition at the National Ploughing Championships in 2005.

The family initially had dairy cattle in the early nineties but then moved to buying weanlings and selling these at 30-months.

With margins getting poorer every year, the Mulcahys had a desire to diversify into something that was less-labour intensive as they are part-time farmers; Salers cattle ticked every box for them.

"Salers have the widest pelvic areas of all breeds, so they can easily calve to strong terminal sires, meaning that breeders don't need to be up at crazy hours at night worrying about calving." Ronan Mulcahy told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.



New waters

They purchased their foundational female - a single in-calf heifer, although this animal and her three generations of progeny were removed from the herd due to docility issues.

Their next purchases came in the form of two heifers - Gittle and Isabel from Corlurgan Salers' reduction sale.

Both Gittle and Isabel were show heifers with Gittle being Reserve Champion at the Beef Expo in 2008 as a Junior Heifer and Isabel is the daughter of the Beef Expo 2008 Champion Ulena.

The herd which was registered with the Irish Salers Cattle Society under the 'Glenmore' prefix in 2009 has continued to grow from strength-to-strength, with bloodlines from the Ashbury and Sligo herds added to the Glenmore genetic pool.

The Limerick breeders have never ventured to the home of the breed across the waters in France but it is on their bucket list; they did; however, purchase two in-calf heifers of French origin in 2011 from the Fourtet and Trin herds.

They source heifers privately and at society show and sales around Ireland to bring the herd to greater heights.

[Edith and clipse arriving from France]

Breeding Programme

Glenmore Salers now consists of nine pedigree registered breeding females; calving takes place between January and March.

The trio is attempting to move towards autumn calving as they feel the cows are in better condition and the caves are hardier when they do go inside.

"We try to breed a medium-sized cow that has the ability to produce a calf every 365 days with sufficient milk." Ronan outlined.

"We’ve had 53 births on-farm with only 1 mild assistance due to the calf coming backwards. We’ve only ever witnessed 9 of these calvings as we were either sleeping or working!" Ronan added.

The family claims that their breeding policy has come under more scrutiny over the past few years as their herd size continues to increase.

They usually give a female 2-3 seasons of breeding as a way of seeing if she is producing a calf of good quality, as they often find that milk supply increases in most females with each year.

Heifers are retained depending on their breeding and physical shape, otherwise they are sold, usually in-calf, at society show and sales.

Bulls that show potential are registered with the society and sold at show and sales also, while the inferior types are slaughtered.

"We use AI, although we have a noticed how some calves bred from our own young bulls seem to turn out better than AI bulls so we may purchase a stock bull from France in the future," Ronan said.

[Ashbury Just Perfect purchased at 2010 show and sale]

Data Recording

The herd is also participating in the Beef Data and Geonomics Programme (BDGP) and Whole Herd Performance Recording (WHPR) meaning that they collect and record data on ICBF's website.

"We find that weighing our animals and inputting that data into ICBF has been a great way of identifying trends with regards cows; bulls; used and the results of their progeny."

The Mulcahys believe that, as a result of this, they are now in a position to make more informed breeding decisions.

They utilise the information to identify what traits their breeding females possess and what AI bulls can be utilised to bridge the gaps in a bid to produce offspring of superior genetic merit.

[Cattle being scored on the farm in 2017]

Shows & Social Media

Tom; Ronan and Cian began showcasing Glenmore Salers on a national stage at agricultural shows in 2010 after they purchased a 10-month-old heifer.

"It was our first time ever showing and we were well off the pace as we didn’t have a dryer or clippers. We’ve improved a lot since then but we’re still learning!" Ronan said.

The herd reached a major milestone in 2012 when it won the Male Champion with Glenmore Leonidas (pictured below) at the society autumn show and sale.

This was their first time attending at it was the first bull calf by their foundation female - Corlurgan Gittle.

"He went on to sire over 160 calves and has a very strong replacement index of €234 and Terminal Index of €145 - both at high reliabilities," Ronan added.

Along with exhibiting at numerous agricultural shows annually, the breeders also utilise Facebook as a marketing tool since 2015.

Their social media presence has proven to be successful, especially when it comes to advertising animals for sale; they share a collection of pictures and videos with their followers.

"We joined Facebook with a view to increasing our profile out there as a reputable herd."

"Seeing as we’re still a new herd, we felt that attending the show circuit and maintaining an online presence would be a positive way for us to do that," Ronan added.

[Glenmore Leonidas - 2012 show and sale]

Future Plans

Looking to the future, there are expansion plans in the pipeline for Glenmore Sales, with a high possibility that a number of these animals will be sourced in France.

"We're putting a bigger emphasis on injecting milk into our bloodlines through AI bulls such as Beguin; Baron; and Ulsan," Ronan stressed.

"Like many pedigree breeders, our goal is to produce a bull that will stand in an AI station," Ronan concluded.

Nine years have passed since the Limerick trio began their Saler dream and they have never looked back since they placed their faith in one of France's oldest cattle breeds, renowned for its hardiness; easy of calving and strong maternal traits.

[Getting shade during the heatwave]



For more information, keep-up-to-date with Glenmore Salers on Facebook.

Image source: Glenmore Salers

If you are a cattle and/or sheep breeder and you want to share your story, email - catherina@thatsfarming.com - and you may be featured on That's Farming next week.

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