ILC Day 1: Herd Visit - McGee’s, Glasson, Co. Westmeath
Delegates at the International Limousin Congress 2016 were indulged with a visited to the splendid suckler herd of Jimmy and Enda McGee on Sunday afternoon the 21st August 2016. The McGee’s farm just outside the picturesque village of Glasson in county Westmeath.
Comprising 218 hectares in five blocks, this outstanding farm is home to 260 commercial cows and their offspring. The farm operates an intensive suckler to weanling system, with a strict calving period of February to April. Given the sheer scale of the operation it is astonishing that day to day running of this farm is undertaken by two men – Enda McGee and David Tormey. Testament to these abilities of these outstanding farmers is not just the fantastic cattle but also the immaculate farm yard, handling facilities, housing and paddocks.
Adam Oates and Aidan Murray of Teagasc were on hand to breakdown the grassland management, health programme and breeding performance of the herd.
For the last number of years the McGee’s breeding policy has been a criss-cross Limousin - Belgian Blue. A number of both Limousin and Belgian Blue bulls run with the cows, these bulls have to be and are easy-calving. The current Limousin bulls are by Highlander, Ulm, Fieldson Alfy and Sympa. An outstanding crossbred Limousin Belgian Blue bull is breeding exceptionally.
All male weanlings are sold to the lucrative Italian Export market, with 60 heifers kept as replacements and a further 25 sold at 18 months for breeding, the remainder are destined for the Export market. Enda shows a couple of selected weanlings each year at fat-stock shows in Roscommon and Carrick-On-Shannon. He has enjoyed considerable success at these prestigious shows on various occasions.
Huge emphasis is placed on grassland management. Cows are grazed in manageable groups of 30, with five paddocks rotated per group. Calves get concentrate for the first time at weaning.
Walking through the livestock and conversing with Jimmy, Enda and David, their passion for cattle is immediately obvious. The quality of their livestock is proof of their immense capabilities.
On returning to the farm-yard after viewing the cattle, we were treated to wonderful hospitality by the entire McGee family. Irish Limousin Cattle Society Secretary Paul Sykes and President Dan O’Mahony made a presentation to Enda and Jimmy to express their thanks to the family. Mr John Phillips, Wales, Chairman of the British Limousin Cattle Society also made a presentation to the McGee’s and spoke about the wow factor expressed by delegates at the quality of the stock on view.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the McGee Family for opening their farm to ILC2016. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed viewing this outstanding herd in their home environment. We would like to wish you all continued success.
Thanks also to Adam and Aidan of Teagasc for their insightful explanations of performance in this herd.
This visit proved as outstanding start to the farm visits section of the Congress.
For more pictures of the event see https://www.flickr.com/photos/125273411@N08/albums