Aubrac cattle are becoming ever more popular in the South East of Ireland.
Their qualities as a top suckler breed are becoming increasingly recognised.
Good growth rates, good conformation, excellent feed efficiency, ease of calving, hardiness, and docility all come as standard for the breed. Even dairy farmers are seeing their abilities for producing dairy-bred beef.
At a recent visit by the Aubrac Society’s Council to the Herdbook Secretary’s office in Deerpark, Carrick-on-Suir, members saw how the farm suckler herd is converting to Aubracs, because of those abilities. Others are recognising this too.
The year started with the Royal Dublin Society awarding Aubrac Cow Ballinclea
Babette, owned by Ernest and Lionel Mackey (Donard, Co. Wicklow), the Overall Award for Suckler Cow, “Champion of Champions”.
ICBF have taken in two Aubrac Bulls, as part of the GeneIreland test programme. One coming from the herd of Alfie Hanbidge, (Stratford-on-Slaney, Co. Wicklow), and the other coming from the herd of Francis Donohoe (Collinstown, Co. Westmeath). This follows the success of Ernest and Lionel Mackey’s bull, Ballinclea Iveco last year.
Earlier this year Slaney Meats hosted some Aubrac breeders, at the killing of
some aubrac cross steers and heifers. All graded U’s and R’s, and killed out very well. The factory in Bunclody would welcome more Aubrac cattle, as they are very suitable for their markets.
But breeders are looking to advance the breed even more. A group visited the Sommet de l’Elevage in Clermont (France) last October, as Aubracs were the featured breed. Leo Dooley and Bridget Barron (Clonegal, Co. Carlow) bought two heifers at the show. There were more purchases for breeders in other parts of Ireland.
In times of low profitability in suckler bred beef, farmers are looking for other, better options. More should take a closer look at Aubrac cattle.