lim logo1

Irish Limousin Cattle Society, Kilglass, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

T:+353 (0)25 85036 F:+353 (0)25 85060 Twitter: @irishlimousin



About Limousin

Herd Health




Sire Catalogue

Live Herdbook






When Iveragh peninsula farmer Mike Kissane bought his first Limousin in 1992, he got a bit of a ribbing from many of the farmers in what was a predominantly Charolais area. Slowly but surely the perceptions of cattle breeders in that part of the country are changing because red and black Limousin are now visible in increasing numbers among the scenic routes of Kerry and West Cork.

Mike Kissane

Mike is also the manager of the local mart in nearby Cahirsiveen and he has seen a considerable increase in Limousin cattle going through his books. For Mike and for a large number of breeders in the peninsula, the benefits of the breed are its ease of calving and hardiness coupled with their ability to produce nicely shaped calves that are in demand. “In this part of the country there are more and more part-time farmers that are calving outdoors, therefore easy calving with minimal labour input is essential. Charolais cattle were causing worry in this respect and it is the main reason Limousin is taking off,” explains Mike.

The beginning:

It all began in 1992 when Mike was actively looking for low maintenance highly productive females for his suckler herd. He choose 17 Limousin cross British Friesian heifers sold through Cahirsiveen mart by local dairy farmers. His suckler herd now numbers 64, all Limousin crosses with approximately 30 heifers coming on board next year.

Stock bull on the farm of Mike Kissane

Bull on the farm of Mike Kissane

Mike already had a Limousin stock bull in his yard. Initially he was worried about the temperament of Limousin cattle but over the years he has seen a marked improvement and is no longer a concern for him. Easy calving and high muscling are his priority when he selects his bulls These are the characteristics of his 2 current mature stock bulls, one by Ibis and one by Ideal-23. He recently bought another young bull (by Nino) from a local pedigree breeder and Mike hopes he will follow on to yield easy calving well-muscled progeny.

Mike likes his cows to be of beefy type but they must have enough milk to rear their calves. He feels that the best cows are the Limousin first crosses with British Friesian. Such cows are crossed back to his Limousin bulls to produce bred calves with excellent shape and conformation. When he selects his replacement females he is primarily interested in their phenotype and working as a mart manager he is confident that he has a good eye for female stock that will be profitable in his production system.

The System:

Calving takes place outdoors between early September and late October and Mike expects all his cows to be calved in an 8-week period in 2004. “Limousin calves have a natural ability to withstand pneumonias and scours because of their vigour at an early age and calving outdoors also minimises the risk. Newly born calves from other breeds succumb to the often-harsh weather conditions rolling in from the Atlantic. At the end of the day I am making a considerable saving on labour and vet costs”.

Limousin cross cow with bull calf on the farm of Mike Kissane

Limousin cross cow with bull calf on the farm of Mike Kissane

The compact calving season is achieved without the use of breeding aids and this is remarkable considering that the breeding season takes place indoors during Winter housing. The bulls don’t have access to the cows at this time – when a cow is bulling he is left to serve her once and removed again.

Once calved, both cows and calves remain on grass until housing in mid-November. Creep feed is introduced on Christmas week and is gradually increased until weaning at 6 months in mid-March. Calves are turned out at weaning but this is dependent on soil conditions and grass supply, which varies from year to year. Farm fragmentation is a big problem in the peninsula and Mike has to navigate 3 separate areas of land. Of the 116 acres in total that he farms, Mike considers approximately 48 acres to be of good quality while the rest is marginal. Farming on the very edge of the Western shoreline means that there always is an on-shore breeze that can help to dry the land but rainfall is also never far away.

Performance and Targets:

For Mike the goal is to produce all “U” grade weanlings and to maximise weight at sale. Currently Mike’s bulls are averaging 400 kg liveweight and realise €400 with their weight. Cattle finishers from the midlands are frequent visitors to marts in this area and are willing to pay top prices for his quality cattle. The great thing about these bulls is that they offer flexibility for finishers – some are finished at 12 months, some at 15-16 months and some are castrated and slaughtered at 2 years. Heifers are also sold through Cahirsiveen mart with average weights of approximately 320kg at weaning and are generally commanding €200 with their weight. Approximately 10-15% of the heifers are kept as replacements especially those from his best breeding cows. Suckler farmers in the midlands again buy many of these heifers. And the rest are sold in the local marts destined for the Italian market, which has a marked preference for Limousin cattle.

The Future:

Mike has many plans for the future. While many local farmers intend to reduce animal numbers Mike is intent on increasing in the non-restrictive era post decoupling – an era he is looking forward to. Decoupling is bringing an air of uncertainty to the beef farmers in the Iveragh peninsula but one thing for sure is that the characteristics of the Limousin breed will allow it to survive and thrive in the new era.

Limousin commerical calves on the farm of Mike Kissane

Limousin cross bull calves on the farm of Mike Kissane

Courtesy of Mike Kissane.

Back to top >>>




© Irish Limousin Cattle Society Limited

Tel: 353 (0)25-85036

Fax: 353 (0)25-85060


For further reports, articles and information go to the relevant page or type in topic in the search bar below


Website by Show Business