In this article, That’s Farming takes a look at those who made our headlines this week, as part of our Ireland’s Vets, and Suckler Focus series.
28-year-old Ryan Gibbons chose Salers for a number of reasons, but in a word, they are his breed of choice for simplicity – fertility and calving ability in particular.
The biggest challenge he would have had before venturing into the breed is much the same as for any other part-time farmer: working off-farm.
“Dad and I are both working off-farm and trying to juggle work in the spring and be around for difficult calvings or trying to watch cows for heat and organise the AI technician for the evening time after hours was a non-runner,” she told the editor of www.thatsfarming.com, Catherina Cunnane.
“Since going fully into Salers, this is not an issue anymore. The cow is like clockwork, the calving jack has been retired, and there is no second guessing when she is in heat.”
“I find the Saler ticks every box; whether you want to use them for commercial or pedigree breeding, you are guaranteed to get what you want.”
“Commercially, ‘the golden egg’ (CH X SA) weanling tends to be a flyer in the marts. You are guaranteed weight for age and a good hairy golden-coloured weanling with a great ability to thrive.”
“I believe the Saler cow is the ultimate suckler cow. I made the decision to try something new by going into pedigree breeding a couple of years ago to try and adapt to changing markets.”
Read more on farming Salers in Galway.
James Herrick runs Folly Farm in Leicestershire, in partnership with his parents.
They operate a suckler beef and arable enterprise and currently, farm 140 suckler cows that are mostly British Blue-cross-British Friesian cows; however, they have recently started making the switch to Stabiliser cattle.
The herd calves in a spring block starting in March for twelve weeks; however, this year, 90% calved in five weeks, which will allow them to drop the breeding period down to nine weeks in the future for cows.
All the young stock are finished on-farm, with bull calves kept entire and finished at 600-650kgs at 14-months-old, and heifers are grazed for a second summer and finished at 600-620kgs and 18 to 20-months-old.
He told That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane: “Our cows are not big, with most weighing between 550-600kgs as mature animals.”
“Recently, we have made a move to Stabiliser cattle to help simplify our whole farming system.”
“In the past, we have tried to make our system fit our cattle, but moving forward, we want a cow that fits our system, and Stabilisers do that for us.”
“They will give us the ability to out winter; they are highly fertile, easy calving, easy fleshing and easy to manage, making the perfect fit for our system.”
“This will allow us to maximise our stocking numbers per labour unit whilst also adding the ability for us to potentially produce bulls and heifers for sale in the future.”
Read more on Folly Farm.
27-year-old Lucia Dawson-Stanley grew up near the village of Glasson, Athlone, County Westmeath and currently resides in Oldenburg, Germany, where she practices as an equine sports medicine and lameness veterinarian at the world-famous stables of Paul Schockemöhle.
She never “wanted to be anything else other than a vet and always felt I was quite lucky that I knew what I wanted to be from such a young age”.
“Every educational decision I ever made was towards my greater goal to become a vet,” she told editor of www.thatsfarming.com, Catherina Cunnane.
“I graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, in December 2020.”
“With places in Ireland’s only veterinary college few and far between, I decided to branch out and look at other options even before I sat my Leaving Certificate.”
“I knew a final-year student who was in Warsaw, and she gave a good review of the university and the course. The opportunity to study and travel really appealed to me.”
“Before I settled into the five-and-a-half years of student life in Warsaw, I took one year to make connections in the showjumping world.”
More farming news on That’s Farming.