Managed under the ‘Trillick’ prefix, the Farrell family, Trillick-A-Temple, Longford, Co. Longford has a long-standing association with pedigree Hereford cattle.
Initially founded in 1946 by James Farrell, the Trillick Hereford herd was continued by Patrick and is now owned and managed by the third-generation breeder, JJ; his wife and three children.
To lay the foundations for the herd, an array of various bloodlines were sourced from a number of well-esteemed herds; several of the foundational females carried lines from the renowned Lugboy herd, owned by the late Mick Campbell, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon.
“One animal that stands out in memory is a cow called Lugboy Madonna. My father bought her from Mick in 1996, just one week before he died suddenly."JJ Farrell told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
"The cow always had a special association with the farm and bred about ten heifers for us.”
To grow the herd, cow families were acquired from the prize-winning Killoe herd of the late Peter Hagan and today, the Farrell’s farm is home to thirty pedigree registered breeding females and a dairy herd.
The utilisation of the best available genetics and a selective breeding policy are responsible for the herd’s phenomenal success.
With the implementation of a strict culling strategy, all inferior animals are selected and are fed right through to slaughter.
Females exchange hands privately from the farm gate, while bulls marketed to dairy and suckler farmers find new homes either through private or society sales, with a base of dedicated repeat customers, both north and south of the island.
“We try to breed a medium-sized cow with old-fashioned quality; depth and width. We strive to retain old breed character and that is why we purchase English bloodlines.” JJ explained.
[Steil Gerard. Photo: Alfie Shaw]
Over the course of the last number of years, the Farrells have travelled across the waters to source numerous bulls that have sired exceptional progeny.
These include Ballyaville Nairn; Steil Gerard - a son of Churchhill Storm, imported from Australia and Freetown Hotspur who was purchased with a fellow breeder, Padraig McGrath, Elphin, Co. Roscommon. The latest bulls to join the Longford-based herd is Clipston Squire, imported from England and Irish-bred Glaslough Rooney.
The Longford breeders have also secured four bulls into Irish A.I including Trillick Best (NCBC) - a son of Ballyaville Nairn; Trillick George (Bova AI) - a son of Freetown Hotspur; Trillick Hotspur (Eurogene AI) - a son of Freetown Hotspur and a Haven Kingpin son - Trillick Emmett (Eurogene AI).
The Farrells have also garnered notable attention on an international stage, with five of their pedigree bulls acquired by U.K. purchasers.
“Trillick Knockout stands out - he was bought following the summer show season in 2014 and won 2015 UK Horned Bull of the Year.”
Third-generation Hereford breeder, JJ is regarded as a well-esteemed ambassador for the breed.
He became involved with the Irish Hereford Breed Society council in 1996; served as Chairman in 2002 and has also officiated as a judge at shows dotted around the world including Denmark; Sweden and the U.K.
“One of the most memorable experiences was the National Horned Show which is held at Tenbury Countryside Show every year. I like to travel back to this event.” JJ said.
JJ was also one of founders Irish Hereford Prime which was established in 1997 with a mission to expand the entire market for Hereford beef.
Along with judging duties as outlined above, JJ also travelled to Australia on two separate occasions to select bulls on behalf of the breed society - the first journey was made in 2002, followed by a second visit to Australian soil in 2007.
“Churchill Storm and Yarram Pompeii are probably the two most influential bulls that were brought in from Australia. An additional number of bulls were purchased during the second trip.” JJ said.
The Trillick herd is no stranger to the show circuit, with a presence at numerous local and national agricultural shows every year.
Among the highlights include an experience in 2012 when JJ’s son, Ciaran (pictured below) was selected to represent the Hereford Society at the world conference in Canada; he successfully competed in the young handler’s class.
JJ also recalls securing a top call of €7,100 for Trillick Governor at the Irish Hereford Breed Society Premier Sale in 2013 and claiming €4,100 for Trillick Miller as just another major milestone memory.
“We have claimed ribbons down through the years at both agricultural shows and show and sales. It isn’t always about winning, as we get great enjoyment from meeting fantastic people from around the world.” JJ said.
“Shows are our shop window, but we have also secured sales through our Facebook page. I like to keep in contact with customers and I provide new breeders with advice when it comes to selecting suitable sires.”
Along with showcasing his own prestigious herd, JJ also organises the annual display of Hereford cattle at Longford Show - an exhibition that draws in excess of fifty Herefords. He is responsible for staging the competitions; securing prize-money and sponsorship and recruiting two U.K judges.
[Trillick Hotspur. Photo: Alfie Shaw]
Looking forward to the future, the Farrell family will continue to maintain and improve the quality of their Hereford herd, with plans to expand their suckler herd to sixty breeding females.
They are always keen to source high-end young bulls and females to improve the genetic merit of the herd.
A polled Hereford heifer was recently sourced from the U.K, with intentions to establish a polled herd, to run alongside the current 100% horned Hereford herd.
“We are very proud of what we do with the herd, from the family end of it and the tradition. My heart is set on breeding Hereford cattle.” JJ concluded.
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