Investing in quality pays

Jack helping his dad to check the stock
Jack helping his dad to check the stock

Emmett Kelly, a fatstock farmer from Clogher Valley who is known for breeding quality show calves, has learnt that success in this industry doesn’t come easy – it comes down to thin margins and attention to detail is crucial.

Emmett, who started running the family farm which was passed down from four generations, knows what it feels like to be successful, however he also knows what it’s like to begin with, as he started with a number of West of Ireland black Angus heifers who were reared and fed on rough grass and bred to a Charolais bull. However, over time Emmett has learnt that it is essential to source good quality cows with history and bloodlines which prove to be successful in order to maintain his aim of selling all calves around eight months old at 350 kilos.

Another quality cow and calf at foot

Another quality cow and calf at foot

At this present time, Emmett runs a herd of 40 cows including one cow which is 7/8 Limousin imported from France. The other 39 consist mainly of Limousins either crossed to the Belgian Blue or Simmental. He believes it is with these crosses that he achieves the rewards as Limousins are extremely easy calving, plentiful in milk and throw calves with great style and shape.

Emmett runs a herd which calve all year around and instead of using a stock bull he believes that he gets the best results using artificial insemination as it is an effective way for Emmett to manage his cows and try to create that ‘perfect show calf’ - common choices of bulls include; Elite Forever Brill, Lodge Hamlet and Swarland Eddie.

Cows are kept in batches of no more than five per paddock as Emmett believes this is essential in order to keep a closer eye on each individual cow to see when she is cycling or calving etc. This is one of the many examples of attention to detail. All bull calves bred by Emmett go on to be sold, normally locally and are then fed to be finished as bull beef. None are castrated in the yard.

The same goes for heifers, if not kept to breed Emmett sells them at a young age either in Clogher Mart or privately.

One example of a private sale is a young heifer called ‘Keeping the Peace’ which was bought by Bob Simpson and went on to be shown very successfully and won numerous titles including Champion Beef heifer at Clogher Show and Champion Breeding Heifer at the NI Commercial Cattle Club’s annual show in August. This heifer was by the bull Elite Forever Brill and out of a Simmental X Charolais cow who Emmett purchased locally out of Clogher Mart.

It is not unusual for Emmett to buy his cattle from Clogher as a good number of his foundation cows were purchased from there however recently Emmett has bought cows privately from numerous other fatstock farmers such as Keith Williamson, James Alexander and Chris Johnston.

It is through Emmett’s extreme attention to detail and choices of the correct bulls used which allow him to be successful.

An opportunity to purchase both quality Limousin bulls and females is available on Monday, October 21, at Dungannon Mart. For more information contact Henry Savage at the NI Limousin Club on 07521 670 141.