Next Gen Herefords & Irish Hereford Prime have teamed up to facilitate the Irish Hereford Charity Calf Rearing Program which is encouraging young people to rear calves on their home farms with the added aim of raising money for charity.
Over the next few weeks we will be introducing each of the young handlers involved in the program.
This week we meet Ciaran Kinahan.
Hailing from Co. Offaly, Ciaran Kinahan has been selected to rear a calf by the North Leinster Hereford branch. Ciaran is no stranger to farming, as he is heavily involved on his family farm in Tubber.
Ciaran is involved in the running of a pedigree Hereford and Simmental herd, alongside his father Michael. The father-and-son duo are very active within showing circles – showcasing their pedigree Hereford and Simmental cattle at agricultural shows up and down the country.
Ciaran is currently working full-time within the agricultural sector and has a strong interest in all things agricultural related.
He has worked in many farming enterprises over the years. Before that, he studied Environmental Science in Agriculture at Technological University of the Shannon (TUS).
Away from the farm, Ciaran loves to play football for his local club Tubber.
Love for Herefords
Ciaran outlined why the family choose the Hereford breed and the traits they seek in their ideal breeding females.
“My love for sucklers has come from my father as he has a huge passion for sucklers”. From a young age Ciaran was always involved on the farm and his favourite time of the year is when cows start calving.
“My love for Hereford cattle came from my father as his choice of suckler cow was a black-white head.
We rear 10-15 HEX heifer calves every year and select four or five of the calves for replacements, the heifers that don’t make the grade are sold for further feeding.
My father and I love the Hereford cross dam for its qualities of hardiness, docility, milking ability and ease of management.
Hereford cattle are very easily handled which is very important to me, and they are very easy fleshing. Overall, they are lovely cattle to work with.”
Ciaran’s ideal suckler cow type is a female that is medium and correct, has a good head and top, is easy fleshing, produces a lot of milk, and weighs between 700kg and 800kg when she is a mature cow. Ciaran noted that on the farm ‘it is crucial for a cow to give birth to a calf every year.’
“On our farm, we currently have 25 breeding cows and we use 100% artificial insemination (AI). We will maintain this number of breeding cows, with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity. We concentrate on AI because it gives us access to a variety of genetically superior, vetted bulls and allows us to choose the right bull for each individual cow.
‘I am honoured to have been chosen to raise a calf for the North Leinster Hereford branch as it is for such a great cause.’
‘It’s wonderful to see Irish Hereford Prime and Next Gen collaborating on this super program as it’s for a charitable purpose.’
‘When the calf is fit to sell, the charity in which I wish to donate the money too will be Hooves 4 Hospice. The money raised will help go towards the fundraising project to raise vital funds towards the cost of building the planned Midland Regional Hospice.’”