March 2019

March 22, 2019 Charolais is the Number One Choice

Many factors have to be thought about when choosing a new stock bull.  It is essential to consider the farming system, breeding females in the herd and the end product for the market place.  The Charolais breed is the No 1 choice for top breeders, given their prolific growth rate and returns that top the market place week on week.

Charolais has been the No 1 choice for over 20 years at the farm of James and Shane Rice from Collin in County Armagh.   With 100 commercial cows, they have been selling their Charolais cross weanlings for a premium. With a reputation for well framed stores, there is high demand and a ready market for their quality stock.  Calves are born in the spring are sold at the October Weanling sales in Markethill.  With pens of steers and heifers securing top prices and realising up to £130+ ahead of other breeds.

Repeat customers return year on year, demand is high for the quality Charolais Weanlings.  Buyers know what they are getting when they buy Charolais, with weanlings being purchased by finishers across Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Rice family are focused on breeding for the store cattle buyer for heifers and finishers for bulls. The discerning buyers are looking for cattle that are well grown for their age and carrying a moderate bit of condition ready to move on to more concentrated cereal feed.  They aim to finish them through to 700kg liveweight or 400kg deadweight.   “The Charolais used as the terminal sire is ideally suited as you can get them to an optimum weight for age at time of sale.” says James who for a number of years now has been achieving his target weights.

In comparison to other breeds, the Charolais will maximise its potential at a younger age reducing overheads and improving farm profits.  The diet for calves is mostly grass and milk based, the heifers and steers at Rice’s Farm are split in July when creep feeding is introduced.  With easy to flesh calves, the creep develops growth rates, with concentrates peaking at 2kgs per head before sale.

This flexible system, using home-grown grass and concentrates from local suppliers allows diets to be adjusted easily to suit the gender, age and weight. This higher protein and lower starch levels are particularly important for heifers who are predisposed to laying down fat. This facilitates the development of a good, strong frame, ready for fleshing out.

Bearing in mind the recent weight restrictions imposed by beef processors, the Rice family seek to combine the Charolais growth potential with their commercial cross cows to maximise returns.  They want animals that can easily be finished to the desired weight, with muscle in all the right places and desired correct fat cover.  Not producing an excessively large animal is also dependent on cow size with the average cow at weighing in at 680kg. These cows are better suited for the job, are nicely shaped, without being too extreme or muscly, and keep input costs lower than bigger cows.

Cow management is important for James and Shane, and they are conscious of matching a bull for their cows.  “It is also down to careful bull selection, matching the bull’s growth potential to the cow size. I’m selecting one that is well shaped and fleshy.”  When selecting new bloodlines, they pay attention to the quality of the bull, looking at the pedigree background and then calving figures stating that he “doesn’t mind calving a few cows but he is looking for sensible mid-range figures”.

Along with genetics and nutrition, management is equally important to maximise performance.  “Over the last 20 years, we have changed from finishing cattle to producing weanlings. We intend to do more fine-tuning of nutrition, bull selection and cow management because there is always something you can learn; every day is a school day. The Charolais has done us well over the last 20 to 30 years and I’m sure will continue to do so in the future.”

The NI Charolais Club is holding their next Show and Sale on Friday 19th March 2019 at Dungannon Farmers Market.  Show classes, which have been generously sponsored by Danske Bank begin at 10.30am followed the sale commencing at 1.00pm.  With a quality entry of 61 bulls and 6 females on offer.

Catalogues are available on the British Charolais website www.charolais.co.uk  or by contacting Dungannon Farmers Market.

Other upcoming sales for your diary include Dungannon on 6th May and Swatragh on 31st May.

Farm Facts
Collin, Co Armagh
James Rice and son Shane farm in partnership
Farming for over 50 years
130 acres of grass land farm
100 suckler cows, spring calving

This article was endorsed by James & Shane Rice who have made Charolais their No 1 choice for over 20 years on their 100 cow herd located in Colling, Co Armagh. for the Markethill store ring.


March 16, 2019 Napoleon takes charge at the Dungannon Charolais sale

Supreme Champion for Corrick Napoleon with Neil McILwaine & Ann McCorry, Danske Bank (Sponsor), Chris Curry BCCS & Judge Nigel Matchett – 8,000gns

There was a good trade for the Charolais at Dungannon on Friday 15 March at the Northern Ireland club official spring sale sponsored by Danske Bank. Bidding peaked at 8,000gns and 33 lots sold to an average of £3,379, £94 up on last year’s sale.

The sale topper at 8,000gns was the supreme champion from C & S McIlwaine, Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, who also picked up the junior & male championship awards. The November 2017-born Corrick Napoleon, a son of the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie and Corrick Hazel, who goes back to 9,000gns Balmoral supreme champion Goldies Carnival, was the star of the sale and the man with the final bid and taking him home to Belleek, Co Down, was Terence McGarrigle.

Next in the trade stakes was a 14 month-old entry from Andrew Wallace, Gubbacrock, Co Fermanagh, who was purchased by W Cousins, Omagh, Co Tyrone for 6,600gns. Newline Outstanding, a son of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister and the Oldstone Egbert daughter Newline Ivy, was a class winner at the morning’s pre-sale show.

Newline Outstanding – 6,600gns

Micheal O’Gorman’s senior champion Bromich Nevel from Mullaghbawn, Co Down, was the first of two to go under the hammer at 4,200gns. This June 2017-born lad is sired by Crossmolina Euro, bred out of the Blakestown Brion-sired Tullyallen Elaine and took the fancy of T Aiken, Coleraine, Co Derry.

Senior Champion Bromich Nevel for Michael O’Gorman with Shane O’Gorman, Ann McCorry, Danske Bank (Sponsor), Chris Curry BCCS & Judge Nigel Matchett – 4,200gns

Matching the 4,200gns price tag when he was purchased by Messrs Boyd, Bushmills, Co Antrim, was the reserve supreme champion bull Derryharney Nipper who is a September 2017 born son of Doonally New and his dam Derryharney Lulu, a Clogher show junior heifer champion, is in turn sired by the Ballymena show champion Glenross Graham. He was bred and exhibited by Harold Stubbs and his grandson Alan Burleigh, Crummy, Co Fermanagh.

Derryharney Nipper – Reserve Supreme Champion – 4,200gns

Just behind at 4,100gns was another 14 month-old entry from the aforementioned Andrew Wallace who had been tapped out second in his class by show judge Nigel Matchett. Newline Oliver, who went home with S Taylor to Belfast is by Major and his dam is Ashleigh Hazel, a Pirate daughter.

The very next lot was chapped down to RW Gourley, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, for 4,000gns. The January 2018-born Slievemore Oisin who boasts an impressive pedigree being by the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie and out of Burnside Izra, a daughter of the 16,000gns Stirling junior champion Clyth Diplomat, was bred and exhibited by Seamus Bradley, Plumbridge, Co Tyrone.

A pair of bulls sold for the next highest price of 3,800gns and the first was Brogher Nike, an October 2017-born, yellow ticket winning entry from Trevor Phair, Bellanaleck, Co Fermanagh. He was purchased by SA Britton. Dunamana, Co Tyrone, and the breeding here includes Blelack Blackberet on to the home-bred Brogher Fancygirl that goes back to Lyonsdemesne Tzar.

The other to sell at the 3,800gns price tag was Woodpark Nugget, a son Deeside Gulliver who has bred over 90 progeny into Will Short’s Beragh-based herd since his purchased in 2013. His dam Maerdy Inbred is a Welsh-bred daughter of the French born Froufrous and the 15 month-old Nugget goes on to work in Belfast for new owner ED Sherrard, Belfast.

Mr Short backed this up sale with another Deeside Gulliver son Woodpark Naples who made 3,500gns. C Monaghan, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was the last man in on this May 2017-born bull whose dam is the home-bred Rumsden Tsar-sired Woodpark Evette.

The first of two knocked down for 3,600gns was Drumconnis Neptune, a May 2017-born entry from John McGrath, Dromore, Co Tyrone. His dam is the 15,000gns Goldies Dynamite daughter Blelack Fern, he is sired by the 12,000gns Caylers Hustler and he was purchased by Sean Mullin, Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

The other 3,600gns lot was entered for sale by Patrick Quigley, Bellanleck, Co Fermanagh and snapped up by Messrs Chesney, Kircubbin, Co Down. Rossavalley Navan, a November 2017-born lad whose sire is the 18,000gns Thrunton Fairfax, is out of Rossavalley Jill, a Blelack Digger daughter.

Just behind at 3,500gns was Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh’s Derryharney Nelson, a 17 month-old out of the Thrunton Bonjovi daughter Derryharney Imlucky. The man behind the money on this 10,000gns Stirling junior champion Goldies Icon son was J Fraser, Belfast.

Heading up the females which averaged £2484.30 for the three sold, was the reserve female champion Killadeas Natasha who fetched 3,000gns when she was knocked down sold to Stephen McGuiness, Greysteel, Co Derry. A 23 month-old heifer from Stuart & David Bothwell, Ballina Mallard, Co Fermanagh, she is out of Killadeas Gail who goes back to the 16,000gns Stirling supreme champion Blackford Dynamite and is sired by the Welsh bred Gwenog Braveheart.

Averages 33 bulls £3,379, 3 heifers £2,484.
Auctioneers: Dungannon Farmers Mart
Sponsor: Danske Bank
Judge: Nigel Matchett, Portadown.

Pictures to follow.


March 14, 2019 Nico joins Coolnaslee herd for £14,000


The May, 2017-born Charolais bull, Carwood Nico, bred by the Wight family at Carwood, Biggar, has been sold in a private deal to Jonathan Crawford of the Coolnaslee herd, in Northern Ireland, for £14,000.

Nico has a strong pedigree behind him, being a son of Carwood Jonboy, a home-bred bull retained for breeding, sired by the 9,000gns Elgin Emperor. Jonboy’s dam was Carwood Debbie, an outstanding Kelton Trident daughter, out of Dundas Mavis, which is a full sister to the 18,000gns Dundas Jackpot.

On the dam’s side, Nico is out of Wesley Verify, which was purchased at the Wesley dispersal. She is the grand-dam of Carwood Lochness, a bull bought by the Elgin, Glenericht and Mornity herds. She has also bred the Carwood herd’s main commercial herd sire Carwood Gigolo, which was retained for his excellent confirmation and easy calving over the 200-head suckler herd.