Based in Rooskey, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, Tommy and Anne Shryane and their daughter Noreen farm a 50-head pedigree herd of Angus and Shorthorn cattle.
The Santanna Angus herd was founded in 2001 by Anne with the purchase of Dunahall Princess - a “lucrative cow” as she bred 13 calves, respectively.
“Princess produced outstanding female progeny and most of the current herd originate from her bloodline.” The breeders told Catherina Cunnane - That’s Farming.
Her grand-daughter - Santanna Crystal - scooped the All-Ireland Heifer calf championship in 2006 and went on to win the All-Ireland Champion cow and Reserve Female Champion in 2010.
Noreen was a member of the Irish Angus Youth Development Programme (YDP) at the time and she won the Young Handler's class with Santanna Crystal in 2009.
To grow the herd, Derrinaher Rose was purchased from Francis and Maureen Kelly - Dromahair, Leitrim in 2001. Rose had a total of five calves - one heifer and four bulls which included Santanna Wizard - the Champion Angus Bull at the Carrick On Shannon April Sale in 2004. She also bred an exceptional calf from Tonroe Udi which was sold to a dairy herd.
“Our high points include winning the Champion Angus Bull in 2004 with Santanna Wizard along with winning the All-Ireland Champion Cow with Santanna Crystal.” The family said.
Another foundational female was purchased from the Woodvale Herd in Dromara, Co. Down, while a cow was purchased from James Morrow’s Ballyshannon herd through a sale; two of her daughters remain in the herd to the present day.
“When selecting an Angus female, we look for a very good head, four correct feet and a nice top line; we wouldn’t be worried about the bone.”
Angus cattle paint part of the picture for the Co. Roscommon-based breeders, who founded a pedigree Shorthorn herd under the ‘Rooskey’ prefix in 2006; the family mostly have traditional Shorthorn cows.
Their foundational female came in the form of Kilbride Dorothy - who was in-calf heifer at the time; she remains in the herd.
Glebe Liz was purchased at a sale in 2007 as a heifer and she left the herd last year after having ten calves.
Cloona Kathleen joined the herd with a heifer calf at foot during the same year; her daughter is still in the herd today.
In 2010, they secured one of their current breeding females - Carnagh Megan - and two additional cows from the Glasgeivnagh Herd in 2010, which was followed by the addition of Creaga Destiny in 2011.
Most of the female calves are retained as replacements with the remainder and all males offered for sale.
“Both breeds are extremely docile and easy calved so they suit our system. 100% AI is used in the herd, with some sires sourced from England and Canada.”
“The main priority is for the cow to calve with minimal interference and have the ability to rear a calf.” They added.
Tommy and Anne are both members of the Irish Angus Cattle Society and the Irish Shorthorn Society; Tommy currently sits on the Shorthorn Council.
Farming has always been at the foremost for Tommy as he owned his first pedigree Ayrshire heifer calf when he was 8-years-old; the family dispersed their pedigree Ayrshire herd in 2006.
He spent ten years on the Board of Aurivo and has represented farmers on numerous other boards. Tommy also judges cattle at various shows North and South.
[Tommy - Image credit: Tricia Kennedy]
The future plan is for Noreen to take over the Santanna Angus and Rooskey Shorthorn herds. “I will continue on farming similar to the current enterprise but maybe at a smaller scale. I am currently employed full-time as an environmental scientist with Tipperary County Council and this takes up most of my time.”
When discussing her plans for the future, Noreen highlighted a challenge that exists for many pedigree breeders: “Getting the right genetics is hard nowadays because a lot of bulls in AI have a lot of genetics on the ground. It’s getting hard to pick to avoid line breeding.” She concluded.
[Noreen - third-generation farmer]
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Image source: Noreen Shryane