Chair­men of Aubrac So­ci­ety and their breed­ers hail from ev­ery corner of Ire­land

Irish Independent - Farming - - PEDIGREE AND SALES -

THE five live­stock breed­ers who have steered the spread of the Aubrac breed as chair­men of the Aubrac Breed So­ci­ety in this coun­try through the first 20 years have been ge­o­graph­i­cally spread across the three prov­inces of south­ern Ire­land.

The spread of lead­ers re­flects the growth in the French breed in Ire­land over the pe­riod from the ini­tial im­ports mainly by farm­ers in counties Kil­dare and Cork, to the breed­ing of Aubrac on farm in 24 counties in South­ern Ire­land and five in North­ern Ire­land to­day.

The five chair­men — from the first, James O’Brien, Dromskehy, Clon­banin, Mal­low who took up of­fice on April 23, 1998 to the cur­rent holder of the of­fice, James Don­nel­lan, Dun­more, Co Gal­way, with Ernest Mackey, Wicklow, James Phe­lan, Abbeyleix, and Liam Walsh, Donegal who served in­be­tween — were hon­oured with com­mem­o­ra­tive pre­sen­ta­tions to mark the 20th an­niver­sary of the first im­ports, in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the ser­vices they have given to the de­vel­op­ment of the breed in this coun­try.

Blood­lines

They have main­tained their in­ter­est in the breed over the last two decades with some of them de­vel­op­ing their herds into blood­lines to com­pare with any herd in Europe.

Con­sis­tently one of the most suc­cess­ful breed­ers among the for­mer chair­men is Ernest Mackey.

Ballinclea Ba­bette, bred by Ernest and Lionel Mackey, Donard, Co Wicklow, was awarded the cov­eted Royal Dublin So­ci­ety Over­all Suck­ler Cow, “Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons”, in 2015 with an in­dex of €326.

The Ballinclea herd has bred Aubrac since 1999, over the years us­ing blood­lines from the Bat­i­fold Herd in France, with prog­eny con­sis­tently in the top 20 for high in­dices in Ire­land.

The sire, Calver­stown Koala, bred by Kim and Mireille McCall in Kil­cullen, Co Kil­dare, one of the orig­i­nal Ir­ish im­porters of the breed, was a Gene Ire­land bull in 2015 and pur­chased for the Co Wicklow herd the fol­low­ing year. He has gone on to breed five-star prog­eny with a rat­ing of €163 and 3.3pc calv­ing dif­fi­culty.

Liam Walsh, who runs a thriv­ing vict­ualler re­tail­ing busi­ness as well as breed­ing Aubrac in Co Donegal ( see panel, right) re­mains a very strong ad­vo­cate of the breed and the beef they pro­duce.

Cur­rent holder of the of­fice, James Don­nel­lan who runs the Cloon­more Herd at Dun­more, Co Gal­way de­scribes him­self as run­ning one of the smaller Aubrac herds in a county which has the joint third high­est num­ber of herds, closely fol­low­ing the lead of Cork and Tip­per­ary.

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