Cork native Paul Moriarty works full-time while also keeping his two pedigree herds – his Kilglass Salers and Boro Pedigree Aberdeen Angus.
Paul decided to make the change from commercial cows to breeding pedigree stock.
He founded the Boro Pedigree Angus herd – which is registered with the Irish Aberdeen Angus Association, with the purchase of two heifers in 2006. He acquired ten pedigree Salers in 2007, that being the foundation of the Kilglass Salers herd.
Paulcontinued to farm commercial cows up to 2017 but made the decision to divert his interest and concentrate fully on pedigree breeding, dispersing his commercial herd. He now keeps a total of forty-two breeding females between the two herds.
“In the last thirteen years, our mortality rates have been extremely low since we made the change.” He told That's Farming.
Being a part-time farmer, Paul’s primary focus was easy calving, which was found in the genetics of these particular breeds.
Working full-time, this was the most significant factor to create a trouble-free system, ease of management and a maintenance-free system.
Paul operates a system of 50% Autumn-calving and 50% Spring-calving, calving down all heifers by the age of two.
He uses A.I. for eighty per cent of the breeding females, mopping up with stock bulls. When choosing A.I. bulls, focal points include docility and ease of calving. Paul stressed the significance of docility of the herd because of his system of operating a fragmented farm and controlling temperamental beef cattle.
Paul uses French semen for his Saler herd; this year, he used Knottown Roy, Knottown Randy, Beguin, Forez and Baron. They are chosen based on their best attributes, in order to produce a superior animal, and this is where the pedigree-breeder focuses his attention.
Furthermore, Paul uses a variety of bulls for his Boro Pedigree Angus herd too, including Liss Brendan, SVR Hedebo Knobel ET, Intellagri Matteo, Kiersbeth Karma and Coonamble Elevator. When selecting these particular bulls for the Boro herd, the main factors Paul considers are easy-calving, easy-fleshing and docility.
Paul sells a total of twenty bulls collectively every year from the farm gate and slaughters all poor-quality types.
He operates a routine system of weighing the bulls throughout the winter every six weeks. This allows him to build up data about their dams and acknowledge the dams that are breeding exceptional top-quality stock.
All stock are performance-recorded throughout the winter and Average Daily Gain (ADG) is calculated.
Paul has noticed a substantial improvement in the market for Saler cattle. Since he founded the Kilglass herd in 2007, he has become aware that the demand is rapidly increasing.
Saler stock bulls are sold both to new and established breeders and dairy farmers, while females are either retained on the farm for replacements or sold as surplus breeding stock. Frequently, Paul buys in new females to introduce new bloodlines into the herd.
In recent years, the Kilglass Herd has exported both Saler bulls and heifers to Northern Ireland.
With regard to the Aberdeen Angus herd, stock bulls are likewise sold to new and established breeders from the farm gate. Paul keeps his heifers for replacements and anything that is not retained for breeding purposes is exported.
In addition to the foundation of these two pedigree herds, Paul has invested in reseeding old pastures and reclaimed fields in a bid to develop the enterprise and improve efficiency.
Paul aims is to reseed 15% of the farm every year. He has reclaimed land that was not in use up to two years ago but today they are among his most productive fields.
He has invested in huge changes on his farm recently, with two-kilometres of roadway put in and a new cubicle shed erected during the summer. This shed was built with the view of expanding to eighty cows in time.
“It’s our first time with cubicles and I find the cows more contented. They hold their weight and maintain their condition throughout the winter.” He explained.
Looking to the future, Paul’s short-term plan is to continue reseeding and improving the quality of grassland.
He also hopes to continue breeding quality progeny and improve the genetic merit of both the Saler and Aberdeen Angus Pedigree herds, to become as efficient as possible.
With a longer term in sight, he is hoping to further develop the herds; he hopes for land to become available to allow the herds to grow.
Despite a difficult Summer which subjected farmers to feed implications and increased costs of production, Paul upholds a positive outlook as he looks towards the future.
“To make money from farming, I find the three most important things to invest money in on the farm are genetics, grass and infrastructure,” Paul concluded.
Written by Maria Byrne and edited by Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.