Farmer Focus: Meet Cork’s Michael Dullea of Deelish Parthenaise


Catherina meets prize-winning Parthenaise cattle breeder, Michael Dullea.

Farmer Focus: Meet Cork’s Michael Dullea of Deelish Parthenaise

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  • 2 years ago

Catherina meets prize-winning Parthenaise cattle breeder, Michael Dullea.

Drimoleague, Co. Cork man Michael Dullea won’t be forgetting Tullamore Show 2017 anytime soon.

Having successfully beaten off stern competition for the silverware, Mr. Dullea took home the prestigious Supreme and Reserve Championship titles last Sunday.

Deelish Klass-Act, born on 13th-November-2015 went on to take home top honours at the AIB National Livestock Show.

Deelish Lightning Maqueen, an October-2016-born bull and maternal brother of last year’s Overall Champion ‘Deelish Klaudia’ followed close on the heels, taking home the Reserve champion cup.

Show Success

This isn’t the first success story from the show scene that Mr. Dullea has to share.

The ‘Deelish’ prefix continues to be associated with numerous prize-winning stock.

The history is deeply rooted in success at local and national Agricultural shows. The herd has togged out at four shows so far this year, taking home four Championships and four Reserves rosettes.

Last year’s showing success is one that continues to lead the way.

‘2016 was a fantastic year. We completed six shows last year, winning six overall championships, five reserves and seventeen red rosettes.’ Michael explained to That’s Farming.

It most certainly has been a step in the right direction, for the farmer who took over the family-run farm based in Deelish, close to a solid decade ago.

Establishing Base

Michael discovered the Parthenaise breed in 2009, with purchasing a stockbull from a top breeder in Kerry, following closely afterwards.

‘Seeing their performance, growth rate and docility make me realise I was making the right decision. I was very impressed with his performance with the commercial cows and then I decided to buy a number of pedigree Parthenaise breeding females.’ Michael explained.

Michael had a desire to source the best quality foundational females of the herd and his cattle-purchasing venture led him to the herd of John White, in Galway.

He did not return back to his native Cork, without purchasing an eight-month old heifer calf.

It was most certainly not a bad move for the first-time Parthenaise cattle buyer, as her first calf went on to scoop the Champion title at Tullamore Show in 2016.

In the same year, two in-calve heifers, hailing from his own county, became additional purchases.

The foundation females of the Cork-based herd left their mark and produced some of the most successful progeny that has ever set foot inside the farm gate.

Three embryos sourced from Cork have also helped to put the breeder’s herd on the map.

The Farm

Now, Angus and Parthenaise cattle currently dominate the pastures, with a base of sixty pedigree and commercial cows.

Michael also operates a calf-to-beef enterprise, with all of the farm’s commercial bulls slaughtered Under 16 months.

Heifers not suitable for breeding are slaughtered at twenty months.

Earlier in the 2017 calendar, Michael performed the routine annual slaughtering.

Twenty-three of his young commercial bulls achieved an average kill-out of 63%-65%, with an average carcass weight of 420kg.

Being a Bord Bia Quality Assured certified Farm, Michael is guaranteed that his U+, U= and E+ grading progeny, will reap the returns.

‘I get the twelve cent bonus on top of the base price. The breed really scores high when it comes to grading. The majority of mine would be E and U grade.’ He added.

Breeding Programme

The herd manages a split-calving spread with 60% of the herd calving down in the Spring, followed by the remainder in Autumn.

‘I try to limit the calving spread to a maximum of twelve weeks. From an efficient production perspective, this is very important.’ Michael explained.

Producing progeny of superior genetic merit is the main objective of the breeding programme.

All commercial cows are served to a stockbull, while high-quality genetics sourced from France, the home of the Parthenaise, through the Irish Parthenaise Society.

‘I always try to use the best genetics that I can source. I try to get a mix of easy-calving for heifers, maternal qualities, growth and frame, conformation and a short gestation. I like to place my trust in proven bulls.’ Michael explained.

Next Generation

With the 2017 calendar already backed with success, it isn’t time to call it a day just yet, with the last few of the season remaining.

Admitting that showing can be demanding, Michael’s future farming generation are eager to lend a hand.

Michael and his wife Sinead are spreading the love of the land and sheer passion to the next generation, who are currently learning the ropes.

Children Emily (9) and Jamie (7) participate in the Young Handlers Competition throughout the showing calendar.

‘Showing is something I have always felt passionate about. Sometimes, you can be a little apprehensive when you start at first.’ Michael said.

Future Plans

Michael’s eyes are securely fixed on converting his suckler herd into a 100% pedigree system, which will take priority as the next three years.

‘I will continue to do what I am doing already. I will focus on breeding quality stock in order to maintain the quality of the herd. This will involve selecting quality A.I. bloodlines, focusing on proven bulls.’ Michael concluded.

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