Salers Bull Ticks All the Boxes on Co. Meath Dairy Farm
I farm 200 acres in Kells, Co. Meath and milk 140 cows. Over the years I have been listening to farm research organisations advocating that the replacement heifers should be put in calf to high index dairy bulls which I have practised but with extreme difficulty as a high percentage of my heifers can have difficult calvings. Losses occur and animals are down which increases workload and in a modern dairy farm the last thing you want to be doing is increasing workload that are already horrendous anyway.
A few years ago at the Tullamore Show I got talking to a Co. Clare Salers breeder who told me all about this wonderful breed he was exhibiting. John Burke extolled at length their attributes, ease of calving, fertility etc. etc. I had never heard of them let alone seen them until then. However, the one thing that caught my attention was the ease of calving bit. He went so far as to tell me that he would give me a written guarantee that by using a Salers bull on my Holstein heifers I would eliminate difficult calvings down to a tiny percentage if not altogether. He explained that a low sized long thick bull was what would be required for Holsteins.
I came away from Tullamore and thought no more about Salers cattle until the following spring when on one particular week I had a lot of difficult calvings and I suppose due to lack of sleep and feeling very fed up, my thoughts went back to Tullamore and this easy calving breed. Luckily I had picked up a copy of the Salers society journal and was able to track down the breeder’s details. I rang him and there and then purchased a bull over the phone. It was a move that was to make my life so much easier.
After the first 10 heifers had calved the following spring I knew I was on to a winner. In fact, I was so pleased I rang John to thank him for putting me on the right track. I am now on to my third Salers bull and life is great, calving wise anyway. I have also reared some of these crosses to beef and am astounded how easily they finish so am baffled as to why this breed is not being promoted more with dairy men as it has so much to offer in terms of ease of calving, hardiness and quick thrive.