Hereford genetics have been the basis of a successful beef enterprise on a leading Holstein dairy herd in Co Tyrone. The father and son partnership owned by Bertie and Paul McAleese near Coagh runs 350 cows producing an average of 9,500 litres per annum on a twice a day milking regime.
“We are looking to further develop the output from the herd and are working on the installation of robot milkers with the aim of taking our average over the 10,000 litre mark” says Paul.
The breeding policy revolves around the use of sexed semen on selected cows – with each cow inseminated twice to the Holstein before switching to a beef bull. All cows are inseminated while indoors using both beef and dairy semen with a sweeper bull introduced when they go to grass.
“For the last 5 years a Hereford bull has been used in the sweeper role and the quality of his progeny has made a significant difference to the performance of our beef enterprise.
We rear all the Hereford sired calves on a grass based system and market them through the Dunbia Hereford Scheme which supplies the Co-op. We bought our current bull back in 2013 and were impressed with his conformation and easy fleshing when we first saw him. He is transmitting these qualities to his progeny – the calves are born easily without supervision and they grow quickly into good quality carcasses without a lot of feed required” says Paul.
“We aim to rear the calves well for the first 4 months to give them a good start and they receive 2.5 kgs of meal per day from 4 months to turn-out. They are then allowed to grow out naturally and develop a good frame on grass before a finishing period of around 3 months on more intensive feeding. We find the cattle respond very quickly when we start to feed them – you need to be careful at this stage not to put on too much condition” says Paul.
The 58 cattle (both steers and heifer) killed from the Mc Aleese farm over the past year averaged 383 kgs deadweight at 22 months of age, producing O+ and R grades at fat class 3+ and 4.
“We have been very pleased with what the Hereford has produced for us and have collected semen from the bull on two occasions to give us a bank of semen in store that ensures we can continue to use him for a few more years.”
Kenny Linton, Hereford Scheme manager with Dunbia is delighted with the quality of the cattle offered. “Good quality crosses from the dairy herd provide us with the type of carcass we need in terms of delivering the right cuts and portion size for the retail pack. The McAleese’s are foundation members of our Co-op supply group and are consistently suppling us with what we need to develop strong trading relationships with our retail customers”.
Hereford beef scheme supplier, Paul McAleese (second right) with Kenny Linton, Dunbia, Stephen Baxter, NI Hereford Breeders Association, and Anna Elakey, Dunbia.
Hereford Spring Sale.
A strong offering of Hereford bulls has been catalogued for the Spring Show and Sale of Hereford bulls scheduled for Tuesday 23rd Aprilin Dungannon Farmers Mart.
The entry of 30 bulls includes a number of well grown two year olds, ready to go straight to work in either beef or dairy herds.
All will have undergone a pre-sale veterinary inspection and many are supported by estimated breeding values which will help guide buyers as to the performance of their progeny.
Several Superior Carcass Sires are included in the line-up and these will be eligible for a cash-back incentive of up to £500 from the Hereford Cattle Society.
A new incentive to be introduced at this sale for the first time comes in the form of a commission free bonus to purchasers of bulls selling for more than 3,000 guineas.
The purchasers of these animals will pay for the animal in pounds rather than guineas while the Northern Ireland Hereford Breeders Association will fund the difference.
Further details and catalogues are available from Dungannon Farmers Mart at 028 8772 2727. Catalogues can be viewed on the online sales section on the Hereford Society website.