Cel­e­brat­ing the French con­nec­tion

Aubrac breed of cat­tle con­tin­u­ing to thrive 20 years af­ter their ar­rival on Ir­ish farms, re­ports

Irish Independent - Farming - - PEDIGREE AND SALES -

IT was an­other mile­stone in the his­tory of the spread of the French Aubrac beef breed across Europe when a del­e­ga­tion from Upra Aubrac Union trav­elled to Ire­land to join in the cel­e­bra­tion of the 20th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the Ir­ish Herd Book for the breed.

Mathieu Causse, vice-pres­i­dent of the French Breed Union, who led the six-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion to the cel­e­bra­tions at the Killeshin Ho­tel, Port­laoise said how pleased he was to learn of the progress in the growth of the breed in Ire­land, as it joins sev­eral other EU coun­tries to which the breed has spread over re­cent years.

“Some of the orig­i­nal im­ports to your coun­try were bred on my farm in France,” he tells me, re­call­ing the visit by the Ir­ish farm­ers in­ter­ested in Aubrac two decades ago.

“We are re­ally de­lighted that the Ir­ish farm­ers are happy with the Aubrac be­cause they are a very good breed for beef pro­duc­tion and very easy to man­age. They are very good an­i­mals and the breed is con­tin­u­ing to spread in pop­u­lar­ity.”

He was ac­com­pa­nied by Philippe Labar­bar­rie, tech­ni­cian, HerdBook Aubrac, and Aubrac breed­ers, Jean Olivier Lau­rens, Fa­bien Veyrac, Yan­nick Pas­cal, and Bap­tiste De La Panouse.

They were wel­comed by James Don­nel­lan, chair­man of the Ir­ish Aubrac Cat­tle So­ci­ety; and the first sec­re­tary of the Ir­ish So­ci­ety and ini­tial im­porter of the breed Mireille McCall, Kil­cullen, Co Kil­dare and her hus­band Kim who had trav­elled to France to make the pur­chases 20 years ago.

French na­tive Mireille and Kim run the very suc­cess­ful Calver­stown Herd of 75 suck­ler cows and their fol­low­ers on their 200-acre hold­ing in Co Kil­dare where per­for­mance is the hall­mark of the breed.

The sta­tis­tics, as ver­i­fied by ICBF, are im­pres­sive with a calv­ing in­ter­val of 354 days com­pared to a na­tional av­er­age of 399 days, mor­tal­ity of 2.7pc at 28 days com­pared to a na­tional av­er­age of 6.4pc, heifers calved at 22-26 months at 64pc against the na­tional av­er­age of 20pc and av­er­age euro value of cows (70) at €132, while the na­tional av­er­age is €75.

Guest of Honour at the cel­e­bra­tion was MEP Mairead McGuin­ness who con­grat­u­lated the so­ci­ety on their achieve­ments to date and as­sured them that she has no doubt but that they will con­tinue to go from strength to strength.

She said it is clear that the breed’s ver­sa­til­ity and low main­te­nance is work­ing for Ir­ish farm­ers, with 180 herds now in Ire­land.

“It takes time and huge ded­i­ca­tion to build a suc­cess­ful herd,” says McGuin­ness.

“The Aubrac sur­vived and thrived be­cause of com­mit­ted breed­ers of the like of those in­volved in your or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Ir­ish Aubrac Cat­tle Breed So­ci­ety, who brought the breed to Ire­land over 20 years ago.”

IFA Beef Chair­man An­gus Woods con­grat­u­lated the so­ci­ety on their an­niver­sary and thanked them for their as­sis­tance over the years.

Kim McCall of Calver­stown with two of his Aubrac bulls

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