Limousin is the name of the game for third-generation farmer and Tipperary man, Steven Tierney.
Thirty pedigree Limousin breeding females, managed under the ‘Bannixtown’ prefix dominant the pastures of the Tierney’s farm, alongside seventy commercial cows.
Steven, a Fethard-native took on the challenge of full-time farming three years ago, following his graduation from the Level Seven Agriculture course at Waterford Institute of Technology.
‘I was always to be found on the farm from a very young age. It was always expected that I would farm.’ Steven told That’s Farming.
Setting the ball rolling
The Limousin-breeding tradition started back in 1991 when Steven’s Grand-father purchased the very first foundation females of the herd.
The Supreme and Reserve Champion rosettes winners from a Fermoy Limousin show were responsible for the breeding venture that has blossomed for the past twenty-six years. The family began to build a relationship with the society in order to broaden their breeding circle in the early 1990’s.
‘The docility, maternal qualities, calving interval and gestation length of the breeding females are the reasons for our selection of the breed. Many people find the same benefits, explaining why there is such a large demand for the breed. ’ Steven explained
The selective breeding philosophy has boosted the herd to a hundred-cow base. Commercial heifers lead the Spring calving agenda, calving down at two-years- of age, followed by the pedigree heifers at thirty-months during the Autumn season.
‘We recently ventured into Autumn calving in order to maximise performance. We want to breed cattle tailored towards the under-sixteen Bull beef production market is another core aspect that we tend to focus on.’ Steven explained.
The herd focuses predominately on the utilisation of a number of highly-bred stock-bulls, with 20% of the herd served by top quality A.I. genetics of French and Irish origin. Several bulls leave the Tierney’s yard every year, to become the stock bulls of suckler and dairy enterprise throughout the country.
The selection of top quality genetics with strict breeding criteria has proven to be a step in the right direction for the breeders.
Boasting a calving interval of 368 days, the herd is well ahead of the national average, sitting at 399 days. 14% of the farm’s heifer calve-down aged 22-26 months.
One of the top leading females of the herd, eleven-year-old ‘Bannixtown Beonce’ boasts a replacement index of €177, followed by a balancing €111 terminal index.
A Kilcoan Tomo sired daughter ‘Bannixtown Bonn’ has calved down with nine progeny in eleven years, equating to a maternal index of €173 and terminal index of €114.
Following close on her heels, an Ampertaine Foreman daughter ‘Bannixtown Kiwi (ET)’ has a replacement index of €170 and a terminal index of €146.
‘Castleview Echo’ is one of the main bulls in charge of the pastures, reporting a high terminal index of €183, followed by a maternal index of €146.
‘In order to assist with the selection of top quality genetics, my father and I decided to become members of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme. We are well ahead of programme targets.’ Steven told That’s Farming.
The Tipperary man has many future plans up his sleeve, with the main focus being on the maintenance of quality cattle, managed under the ‘Bannixtown’ prefix.
We have no doubt that the Limousin breed ambassador will continue to make waves in Co. Tipperary.