Limousin Breeders from Ireland Visit the Heartland of the Breed in France
On Thursday 28th August 2007, 28 NI Limousin Breeders joined with 38 Irish Breeders and set off on a weekend trip to Limoges in France intent on seeing how, in the home of the Limousin, the Frenchmen are continuing to meet the breeding demands of what is now a worldwide breed.
The schedule for the trip was to go to Brive in France, to visit some top herds, to attend the FESTIVAL DE L’ELEVAGE show of Limousins and the KBS Prestige VIII sale and all this was achieved and greatly enjoyed by the entire group.
The group duly arrived on Thursday afternoon and were greeted by Sophie Mournetas from Interlim (a Breed Export Service) who took them to Lanaud Bull Testing Station where just that week a new intake of bulls had been accepted. There the group were given a talk on their programme and selection process. The Limousin Herd Book in France implements a very straightforward qualification system which makes it easy to pinpoint the best animals to use. The qualifications are indicated by the letters “RRE” (the top 1%) – which equals “recommended” – and “RR” (the top 10%) – equalling “recognised”.
Following that there was a visit to the farm of Gaec Delages’s, a Pedigree Breeder who had an amazing herd of quality cattle including 50 Cows of which 17 had a qualification of RRE (top 1%) and 13 RR(Top 10%).
On Friday we were greeted by Jean-Luc Kress from KBS (also a Breed export service) who took the group round four great pedigree herds and one herd which is run commercially and which sells all its Limousin bull calves at a year old and females at 30 months and over just for the French Market. At 440kg they are currently being paid 4.2 Euro per kg – easily twice as much as they would be worth in NI – where have we gone wrong?
The group stayed in the beautiful City of Brive and we had the opportunity to sample some excellent beef – here most folk like it a bit rare or “blue” in French. Right there, in the centre of the City, was a marquee with at least 200 Limousin cattle for their prestigious show together with some 46 selected cattle for the sale.
This KBS Prestige VIII sale, held after the Brive show in the heart of Limousin country, was an excellent sale with super demand for all females and the young bulls on offer. The demand seen for pedigree heifers to Eastern Europe in Ireland & the U.K. was also evident at the sale with young Limousin bulls being bought for Russia. The top price of the sale at €46,000 was for Urbino B, a 4 year old son of Pompier, who only hours earlier won a first prize at the Brive Show. The large Irish contingent was certainly in spending mode with numerous animals returning to Southern & Northern Ireland.
- Goulding Genetics on behalf of a Northern Ireland client paid €17,000 for Banjo, a 13 month old son of Vacarme.
- Dick Bradley, Co. Cavan bought three animals for clients. He paid €11,000 for Adonis, a two year old daughter of Soda, €10,800 for a 4 year old bull Uranium and €6,200 for an eighteen month heifer Badine, a Titus daughter.
- Jim & Fergus Turner, Co. Wexford paid €12,200 for a 10 month old bull calf Billy, an Udrope son.
- Father and son team of the Davidsons, Co. Antrim went to €5,400 for an 11 month old heifer Ballerine, a Valseur daughter.
- The Rodgers Family, Co. Down paid €4,400 for a 12 month old heifer by well known show bull Sauvignon
- Noel Kenny, Co. Wicklow paid €3,900 for Bobinette, a 13 month old heifer by Unique.
Like all good things, there has to be an ending but the Group returned home on Sunday night well satisfied that what they had seen and done was worthwhile both from a social and an educational viewpoint. And the members were agreed that the trip had been well organised and thanked the NI Secretary, Elizabeth Rodgers, Chairman Bryan McElroy, together with Irish Limousin Secretary Ger Ryan and Development Officer Noel Geown, for the quality of the arrangements.