Mike Feehily runs a 50-head commercial suckler herd with his son, Aaron, on 130-acres (70 owned, 60 rented) in Ballydangan, Co. Roscommon. As well as the sucklers, they also buy store heifers for finishing.
They calve their cows in two batches, during October and the end of April/early May.
90% of their cows are Limousin crosses, with many going back to Ideal 23 and Hortensia. “Many of our cows are ¾ or ⅞ Limousin, so the calves are close to purebred,” Mike explained.
“While people always say how important a good bull is, one also needs good cows. We are very conscious of having cows with good milk in our herd.”
“It helps to cut down on costs. Our ideal cow is medium-sized, with good legs, docile and enough milk to do a good job on her calf.”
Why Limousin cattle?
The Feehilys purchased their current bull, Mullaghboy Moses, a Lodge Hamlet son out of a Nenuphar cow, at the Roscrea premier sale in October 2018.
He is a 5-star terminal bull with a calving ease figure of 3.2% on beef cows, which is below the breed average. He also has a 5-star index for carcass weight and carcass conformation. Moses was bred by well-known breeder, Matthew Fee from Corrawallen, Co. Leitrim.
“We usually purchase at the premier Limousin sales. There is always a good choice of quality bulls. Our previous bull was a Wilodge Cerebrus out of a Mas Du Clos cow. We have always had Limousin bulls.”
“We want a bull that produces good males and females. Easy calving is a must for us as we both have off-farm jobs. Limousin is very much the working man’s breed. If you are a part-time farmer, you have no choice but to have an easy-calving bull.”
“The calves are hardy and are generally up drinking within 20 minutes. We like a bull with short gestation that has medium size calves that grow on and develop great confirmation.”
“The bull runs with both the cows and heifers with no calving issues, we AI a few cows to try out some new or different bloodlines or if a cow has bred exceptionally well to a particular bull in the past.”
“Docility is very important – a trait that the society have done trojan work with – this is also considered when choosing a bull and as a result our cows and calves are very quiet.”
Mike is indeed a good cattleman. Both his younger and older calves have great shape and with good thrive, showing good weight for age.
Mike and Aaron sell their weanlings at around 9 months, by which stage they generally reach weights of ~340kg for heifers and ~380kg for the bulls.
“We sell the weanlings at the local marts — Ballinasloe, Roscommon and Tullamore. The bulls are generally purchased for export.”
“Local farmers usually purchase the heifers. Last year, we averaged €3.25/kg for heifers. Heavier bulls made on average €2.70/kg. Lighter bulls made on average €3.00/kg.”
As well as his passion for farming, Mike is chairman of his local GAA club for the past four years and is very involved in all aspects of club activity especially underage.
Looking for a Limousin bull?
The next Limousin Society premier sale takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 3rd at Roscrea Mart at 2.00 pm. Sale online at Martbids.ie.
Please ensure you are registered to bid with Martbids.ie in advance of the sale
Viewing on Monday by appointment only – potential customers will need to book a viewing slot with Roscrea Mart on (0505) 21687.
You can find an online catalogue and sale details here