The making of a Champion

‘We always hope for the best, but it is achieving prices like this with a pedigree bull that keeps you going,’ says PJ Ryan from county Tipperary.

PJ Ryan farms with his brother Matt between Templemore and Borrisoleigh in Co. Tipperary. His well-known Pedigree Charolais herd are run along-side his dairy herd and together with some contracting work there is little time for summer shows.

‘Our primary focus is on Pedigree Charolais sales and the Kilvilcorris herd has plenty of success in that regard,’ says PJ Ryan.

The Ryan’s September 2016 born bull, Kilvilcorris Mark, took the championship at the annual show and sale of Charolais bulls in Tullamore mart before being knocked down at €9,000 in the sales-ring, selling to a commercial herd in County Laois. ‘We always hope for the best, but it is achieving prices like this with a pedigree bull that keeps you going.’ 

Our pedigree herd

‘It has always been Charolais with us; we started up the pedigree herd in the late 1980’s and from a small number of foundation females have built the herd up over the years to now having 50 breeding females. Last week’s Champion, Kilvilcorris Mark, is sired by the popular Goldstar Echo and is bred from a strong female line of home-bred kilvilcorris females, with his dam being sired by Enfield Plexus, resulting in him having a five-star terminal index of €159, coupled with a four-star maternal index. Although it might not seem like it, this is the first step in making a Champion, if you don’t have the breeding and genetics right, you’re starting off on the wrong foot already.’

How we prepare for shows and sales

A lot of work goes into preparing bulls for pedigree shows and sales, even small things like halter training and washing him weekly to ensure he had a good covering of hair for the sale day, it all takes time and effort, but it starts long before this. From the outset he would have been given access to calf meal, and was creep-fed along the way while suckling his dam. From there we introduced him to the GAIN ‘Champions Choice’ pedigree range. 

Our feeding system 

In our operation we find it is important to have a system and the GAIN ‘Champions Choice’ range supports that approach with the product range. Our bull started off on ‘Accelerator’ for a number of weeks before slowly building him onto ‘Full Throttle’ until he had reached a nice level of flesh cover. Finally we changed him onto ‘Cruiser’ up until D-day, which kept him going right. 

We have used GAIN ‘Champions Choice’ pedigree range of feeds when preparing young bulls for premier shows and sales before, which resulted in the bulls both performing and looking well, and most importantly selling well, with this bull being no different’. 

The results – ‘One of our best’

‘Heading into the sale we thought he was an exceptional bull, very correct and excellent locomotion with figures to back it up, but you can never be too sure how things will go’. Although this price was not the highest price achieved by the Kilvilcorris herd to date, PJ says it was close to beating their record price. 

Looking towards the future, PJ has continued high hopes for the herd with more top-quality bulls currently being prepared for the up-coming Premier Charolais sale.

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