Tateera & Rathmore Farms operates one of the largest suckling enterprises in Ireland, farming just under 1,000-acres based around Castletown just outside Dundalk in Co. Louth.
John Kingham is the operations manager for this suckler herd and states that there will be 510 cows calving down in 2021.
Running such a large suckler herd requires a lot of planning and John’s places emphasis on getting his ideal cow.
For John, this cow must have good calving ability and be well able to rear its calf to its full potential as he sells all progeny as weanlings. Fertility is the other key factor as farm profitability depends on a calf per cow per year.
Cow-type at Tateera & Rathmore Farms
The cow type on this farm are Simmentals and Limousins and the cross between these two breeds. This mix gives John the ideal platform to cross with other terminal breeds or mate back to the cow’s own breed.
Stock bulls & AI
Presently, there are 19 stock bulls on the farm. These include between the following breeds, Simmental, Limousin, Charolais, Belgian Blue and Shorthorn.
John finds this mix of sire breeds gives him great flexibility at mating time. His aim is to always being to breed a quality replacement heifer or male progeny that will deliver for his purchasers. Currently, there are 4 Simmental stock bulls on the farm.
In the springtime each year, John AIs 160 cows to Simmental and Limousin and uses sexed semen if available. Cows are currently calving down to bulls such as Popes Grandsalm, Coose Jericho & Bosahan Dynamo.
The policy on the farm is to retain their own replacements with the occasional purchase of quality heifers when required.
Presently, 50 homebred heifers are being artificially inseminated. Another 34 weanlings are being brought forward for serving later in the year.
The farm sells all progeny at weanling stage as this allows for maximum cow numbers to be maintained. The farm holds a special heifer sale each October at Carnaross Mart, with 140 heifers sold last October.
This year, there are 160 quality heifer calves already earmarked for this sale, which will occur on Friday, October 1st, at Carnaross Mart.
They sell all weanling bulls directly from the farm to mostly repeat customers – either for bull beef or to take on as quality stores.
John is very pleased with the returns on his Simmental weanling bulls where they match or, in cases, “outperform other breeds”.
John motto is straightforward: “if you purchase a top-quality stock bull regardless of the breed, you will have no problem selling their progeny”.
Furthermore, the Simmental bull weanlings easily reach 450kgs at 10 months of age and go on to deliver for his customers.