That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, catches up with Speckle Park breeder, Pat Morrison, ahead of his open day and auction.
Later this month, renowned Speckle Park breeder, Pat Morrison, will play host to a sale, which he believes is a world-first for the breed.
The Lanmore, Westport, Co. Mayo native established his herd under the Lanmore prefix twelve years ago.
As the owner of one of Ireland’s oldest Speckle Park herds, he has been instrumental in the breed’s continued development in Ireland.
Patrick, who farms with his wife, Marian, and sons, Kanvar and Lee, told That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane:
“We have steadily been building up our herd over the years to the point where we had 13 calves this year. Now, we have a full herd of purebred Speckles.”
“Speckle Park cattle have been the answer to all my questions here at Lanmore. I needed an easy calving, hardy animal for the west of Ireland with a quiet temperament, which Speckle Park have.
“However, it is all the other traits which have been such a bonus and are making them so appealing to all farm enterprises.”
“These include short gestation, low birth weight, a very lively calf at birth, good growth rates, fleshing abilities, and, of course, the very appealing colour patterns, which can always leave you guessing.”
“Speckle Parks have given us so much excitement over the years. The breed has brought us to avenues of cattle breeding which I never imagined I would be involved in ten years ago.”
Speckle Park breeder
The last few years alone have seen him make history, by exporting the first pedigree Speckle Park bull to mainland Europe.
As reported by That’s Farming, Lanmore Hero, one of their 2020-born bulls, ventured to Holland to a mixed farm enterprise.
“Furthermore, we have imported genetics from around the world, even being the first to purchase AI straws at an online auction in Australia. We are so excited about Minamurra Leander.”
“To add his genetics to our herd and the Irish herd with his first calves hitting the ground next spring is exciting.”
“Also, one of our own home-bred bulls are available through AI. Lanmore Goliath always had something special about him from an early age. We have sold straws to both dairy and suckler herds all over the country.”
Open day and sale
All these milestones have culminated into an open day and sale, which he claims is the first “Speckle Park sale of its kind in this part of the world”.
The open day will take place from 1 pm-3 pm on Saturday, October 30th, 2021, with an auction to follow at 4 pm at the Mariner Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo.
“We have been building this herd for the last 12 years. Now, we are happy with the current number of breeding females within the herd. It allows us to now offer these animals for sale.”
“This is a sale with something for everyone. These include current breeders, new breeders, and commercial suckler or dairy farms looking to add a Speckle Park bull to their herd.”
“We are so excited to say that this sale is not just the first Speckle Park sale of its kind here in Ireland, but also a world-first.”
For the past 12 years, he has sourced the “best genetics” available from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland.
“This sale is the first time anywhere in the world that genetics from all over the world are available at the same sale.”
16 lots for sale
The herd will offer a “wide range” of categories to appeal to all interested parties, from mature cows with calves at foot, 2020-born heifers (15-17-months-old) and a weanling heifer, “in a league of her own” named Ivy Belle.
“One of our 2020-born pointed white bulls, who is certainly going to live up to his name of Hercules, is also for sale.”
A selection of crossbred heifers, recipients scanned in-calf to pedigree embryos, a selection of embryo packages and two mature cows with calves at foot will also come under the hammer.
There will be 16 lots in total (all export-tested) on offer on the day. “One of the teams has a pointed white bull calf at foot; the other has a leopard-coloured heifer calf at foot,” he added.
Hybrid auction and support from Denis Barrett
The auction at the Westport-based venue will take the form of a hybrid event with in-person and online bidding.
Denis Barrett Auctioneers will officiate as auctioneer on the day, hosting the sale on the company’s web-based platform.
“Bidders can register to bid now, and online bidding is already open to potential buyers,” he added.
“There will be international interest. We have already been contacted by the buyer of Lanmore Hero in Holland, who have confirmed their attendance. Besides, we have interested parties from the UK.”
“But this is a sale that will appeal to so many. Our embryo packages are for domestic use only here in Ireland. However, we will be working with anyone interested in exporting embryos to any EU country.”
“The day starts at 1 pm on October 30th, when we open the gates for viewing of not just the sale animals who will be housed to allow easy, clear viewing, but also a viewing area in one of the meadows for people to see all the Lanmore Speckle Park herd.”
“The viewing is open until 3 pm. Then, people will go back to Westport town to the Mariner Hotel, Mill Street for the actual auction.”
Why Speckle Parks?
On a parting note, Morrison encouraged farmers to consider incorporating Speckle Park genetics into their breeding programmes.
“Speckle Parks have so much to offer any farm enterprise with the traits I mentioned earlier. They have surprised me so much and never cease to amaze me with what they can do.”
“But now, many changes are coming in farming over the next few years. Speckle Park could be a serious answer to these changes.”
“Their ability to gain weight and forage conversion is amazing and an easier maintained and being an easier finished animal requiring less meal and less fertiliser for a more environmentally friendly farm system makes Speckle Park a genuine option for a lot of people,” the Speckle Park breeder concluded.
Note: Images: Tricia Kennedy
Read more suckler farming articles.