Gearoid’s Farming Week: Suckler Farming in West Clare

Patrick Bolger

| Cattle & Dairy

| Feb 27, 2017

Gearoid farmer cattle

I come from Labasheeda a West Clare village situated alongside the Shannon estuary. I farm alongside my father Gerard and

my two older brothers. We own over 30 acres and rent another 17 acres a couple of kilometres away just outside the village.


We run a Suckler and Beef herd usually with 15 cows calving down throughout the year, with calves generally sold off as weanlings or yearlings and the replacement heifers kept on to calf down as two year olds… all going well. Alongside the cows we also buy and bucket rear calves, last year 8 male calves were bought (7 whiteheads + 1 limousine) which are generally sold off as stores.

During the week my father keeps the show on the road in relation to the farm jobs as my brothers and I work away from home during the week. I work on the Herdwatch Sales and Support team. This usually leads to the jobs needing an extra pair of hands being left until the weekend.

A typical Weekend

This weekend a few of the bucket fed yearlings had picked up sore eyes and were treated with Opticlox eye ointment. As well as this, alternative housing arrangements had to made for a rogue heifer calf who was draining any cow other than her mother any chance she got.

On Sunday morning we welcomed our first calf of the year with a Belgian Blue cow calving down a ZAG bull calf. This calf was then registered later that night through Herdwatch while I watched the Banner stick it to the Cats on the Sunday Game!

A sad week on the farm

This week we said goodbye to one of our best cows as she made her way to the

2016 Born Bucket Feed Calves

factory. She was an AI bred KIW Belgian Blue out of an Angus cow. With a quick look at Herdwatch I see that she would be hitting 15 years on the 8th of March!

During her 15 years on the farm she produced 13 calves and had a calving interval of 365 days, putting her well ahead of the national average. In the latest ICBF ratings she was given a replacement index of 87 euro which resulted in a four star rating.

Although she is no longer in the herd, her bloodline will be continued as we have a two year old daughter off her by Fitson Charolais (108 euro Replacement Value) due to calve over the next few weeks and if she performs anything like her mother we will be happy.

The Silk Beds,  Labasheeda


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