Pedigree Hereford breeding continues to grow from strength to strength here in Northern Ireland. Confirmation of this fact comes courtesy of the impact which recently formed herds will, almost certainly, make at this year’s Balmoral Show.
Among this grouping is Kinnego Herefords, owned by Lurgan breeder Ciaran Kerr. The business was established in 2012 with an initial purchase of two in-calf heifers from the Richmount herd of James Graham.
“We have been building up numbers ever since. Our plan is to establish a high quality polled herd, made up 15 breeding females and followers,” Ciaran explained.
“And we are getting there. The herd currently features six cows, all calving at the present time; five heifers, three of which will calve in 2016; two bulls and, of course, this year’s calf crop.
“We have a tradition within the family of keeping suckler cows. Hereford cattle have always appealed to me and when the chance presented itself of buying into some decent pedigree bloodlines four years ago, I took it.”
And it’s an investment made by Ciaran that is starting to pay off. Last year saw him receive the runner’s up award in the Hereford Cattle Society’s small herd competition for Northern Ireland
Of course, every pedigree herd needs an elite stock bull. And in the shape of Mullaghdoo 1 Elite, Ciaran is confident that he has the right animal.
“I bought him from Co Cavan breeder Basil Arnold last September,” explained Ciaran.
“He was 18 months old at the time. At 24 months of age he weighed 1030 kilos. He has tremendous length and an excellent overall conformation. We will be entering him for Balmoral this year.
“He has already served a number of heifers and we look forward to seeing his calves later in the year. Quite a number of commercial beef breeders have expressed an interest in the bull, so we may take straws off him later in the year.”
Ciaran also plans to take a home bred heifer – Kinnego 1 Loanin Lady – to Balmoral this year. Born in February 2014, she is one of the Kinnego females currently in calf to Elite.
“This will be our second time at Balmoral,” confirmed Ciaran.
“And the entire family is really looking forward to it. The event is a tremendous show case for breeders like ourselves. Our aim is to produce stock that meet the needs of pedigree and commercial breeders in equal measure.
“Pedigree Hereford bulls are increasingly sought after by dairy farmers at the present time. Their progeny are easily calved and they all attract a premium courtesy of the Hereford quality scheme.
“In addition, Hereford cross cattle are easily managed and can be finished at an early age on forage based diets.”
Ciaran concluded: “Elite will, possibly, be the youngest bull taking part in the Senior Hereford class at this year’s show. So there will be plenty of competition from other breeders when it comes to the big day. I believe that he epitomises everything that is positive with regard to modern Hereford breeding. Hopefully, he will able to imprint these same qualities on to his progeny over the coming years.”