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