On Sunday the 9th September 2018 a large crowd descended to Carrowcarden, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational open day at the Milan pedigree herd of Donie and Maura McKeon.

Milan Limousin’s was founded in 1998 with the purchase of a heifer “Pelletstown Lorraine” from Roger McCarrick. This heifer proved to be a very astute investment, Lorraine bred very well, today some 20 years after her arrival in Sligo there are 12 of her descendants as part of the current herd.

Below is an outline of the history of the herd as outlined by Donie and Maura:

Our first female and the foundation of the Milan Herd was purchased in Roscrea in November 1998. Pelletstwon Lorraine a Generaux daughter, was granddaughter of the renowned Pelletstown Estelle. Lorraine remained in the herd until she was 16 years old. She produced a number of great breeding females with 12 of her descendants still in the herd.

All the animals in the herd are descended from five original purchases. The second purchase was in September 1999 when Hammel Fleur, a Danish cow was purchased from Roger McCarrick. Fleur is the granddam of Milan Amelie, who is the mother of Milan Jefferson Et, an Ampertaine Foreman son. As a calf Jefferson won 16 red rosettes and championships when shown during the 2015 show season. He also won the North West Calf Championship in 2015. He was sold at 12½ months in Roscrea for €12,200. Milan Amelie also produced four brothers to Jefferson which were sold for €4,000, €3,700 and two at €3,500. Two full sisters of Jefferson and great granddaughters of Fleur are still in the herd Jaylo Et and Lindie Et.

In 2005, three females were purchased from the Greenwell herd in the UK. These females also proved to be excellent breeding bloodlines with descendants of all still in the herd.

Careful thought is given to mating bulls with suitable females with the focus on breeding quality stylish Limousin cattle, true to breed type.

Showing has played a huge part in promoting the Milan herd. The herd won Show Team of the year in 2014, 2015, did not show in 2016 and won the title again in 2017. The herd has participated in the Herds Competition since it started in 2009, successfully winning it outright or winning special categories each year.

Another important element to the running of the herd is health and fitness of animals. Therefore regular use of minerals and a supply of good feed is a must. The herd participates in the Limo Leader programme.

When the crowd began to arrive in Enniscrone they were welcomed by Donie and Maura and a hardworking team from the North West club. Tom Finnerty (North West club Chairman) extended a warm welcome to all guests and outlined the itinerary for the afternoon. A lovely booklet was produced for the Open day – outlining the history of the Milan herd and detailing the current group of pedigree livestock. This booklet was produced by Maura. First on the agenda was a clipping demonstration, this task was very ably performed by Owen Hester, a young club member and Limousin breeder – Owen and his family run the Meelickaduff herd based in Roscommon. Owen outlined the advantages of clipping before he clipped a young bull. Once this task was complete the audience was invited to partake in a guess the weight and a stock judging competition. For the stock judging five young heifers were penned – an arduous task given the heifers were well balanced. For the guess the weight competition – the Milan herd stock bull Millington Lesley was the subject. Lesley was purchased at the Millington Dispersal sale in August 2016. He is steeped in first class genetics – his sire Norman Hawk having Claragh Franco, Wilodge Vantastic and Sympa in his lineage. His dam Brockhurst Option and grand-dam Ronick Mcainsi are two of the most outstanding cows in the Limousin breed. Millington Highlight, a sister of Lesley was sold at the dispersal sale for the world record Limousin cow price of 50,000gns, one of her daughters sold at the dispersal sale for 30,000 gns. Lesley’s first crop of calves were born into the Milan herd this spring, they are already showing great potential with style, growth and length.

Donie escorted the visitors to view the bulk of the herd which was split into groups in fields adjacent to the farmyard. The cattle on view were testament to the breeding policy adopted by the herd – all true to type, with excellent shape and length. On returning to the farm yard, James Coffey (owner of the Magheraboy pedigree herd) held a hoof trimming demonstration. James, who operates a roll-over crush and trades as Hoofcare Solutions, used an incalf cow to show how stress free the system he operates is for the animal.

Michael Phillips than addressed the audience on breeding and the importance of feeding and vitamins for young cattle at all stages including for the preparation for sales. Michael is a Beef Breeding Advisor with Word Wide Sires and along with his family runs the Phillips Limousin herd based in Gurteen, Co. Sligo.

Animal health plays a huge role at Milan and Donie outlined the regime undertaken with his cattle.

The North West club held an auction of various AI straws and other miscellaneous items. Ciaran Golden from the Clew Bay pedigree herd officiated as Auctioneer.

Young members were put through their paces with a workshop on site: they were given a demonstration on clipping, grooming, show etiquette, handling and the presentation of both their charge and themselves in the showring.

Society President Michael Gunn addressed the audience and thanked Donie and Maura for hosting a most enjoyable Open day.

A lovely spread of refreshments was served – many thanks for the delicious food to Maura and her team.

The North West club would like to thank the sponsors at this event:

Phillips Limousins

Bova AI

Progressive Genetics

Dovea Genetics

Townleyhall Limousins – Derek Russell

Liscarn Limousin herd – Philip Dunne

Ardlea – Elite Limousins – Kevin Bohan

Elite Pedigree Genetics – Bartley Finnegan

World Wide Sires – Michael Phillips

Eurogene Ai Services

Hoofcare Solutions – James Coffey

Nutrias – Beef Feeds

Many thanks to the MC Michael Oliver for his commentary and insuring events ran very smoothly. Michael runs the Lisnacrann pedigree herd which is based in Swinford, Co. Mayo.

There were many volunteers from the North West club and we are very grateful for all your help, thanks also to the Moore family,  John, Nora and Patricia, of Buckfield Limousins for all their assistance and to Gerry Brennan of the Gerbren herd for all his help. Our club Secretary Darren Hartnett (Clonbonny Limousin herd) was of great assistance especially with social media.

Thanks very much to our hosts Donie and Maura, everyone attending had a most enjoyable day and we wish Milan Limousins continued success.

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