We were honoured to be the host farm for ILC day 3. Delegates arrived at Beechill Farm in the early afternoon, having enjoyed a visit to Newbridge Silverware in Co. Kildare. The tour started in the top-yard with each guest received a handout containing information on the farm and its livestock. Our team of Kevin, Paddy, Keith and Jason, were on hand at all times to greet visitors and answer queries.

The team at Ardlea Elite have been preparing for this event for the past year, a carefully planned route had the cattle sub-divided into 27 paddocks. As guests made their way from paddock to paddock the renowned attention and care that goes into the upkeep of this remarkable farm was evident to all. Some members of the YMA were busy for the day, they each had responsibility for a different paddock and as visitors made their way from paddock to paddock the young members answered questions and moved the cattle closer to ensure visitors could get a complete view of the type of cattle being produced in Ardlea Elite.

The first paddock contained in-calf commercial heifers, paddock 2 and 3 contained commercial cows along with the bulls Hortensia and Franco. Commercial offspring from both of these bulls were testament to their sires and were much admired. Many of the heifer calves from the commercial herd will be kept on-farm as embryo recipients while the reminder and the bull calves will be sold at Mountrath mart.

Paddocks 4 and 5 also held some commercial livestock – in-calf heifers and cows which are due to calve in January 2017 and October 2016 respectively. Paddock 6 held commercial cows and their offspring sired by Franco and Isidore. The commercial cows and calves in Paddock 7 were accompanied by Isidore.

Paddocks 8 through to 12 contained many of the herd’s embryo calves and their recipient dams. These calves were much admired, they were from some of the most prominent females in the herd, including Elite Eleanora ET, Elite Forever 1 ET, Elite Hostess ET and Carwin Hillery. Their sires include the herd’s stock sires Aultside Hulk and Emerson.

In Paddock 13 were the next group of heifers – maidens which will be used to carry embryos. Goldies Informer, a Goldies Fortess son was in Paddock 14 along with some young calves and their dams. Informer is relatively new to the herd – his first crop of calves were born earlier this year and already showing huge promise. Paddock 15 held some yearling maiden heifers – our future cows, these heifers are daughters of Henzo, Aultside Hulk, Cesar and Wilodge Cerberus.

Visitors were very interested in learning about our recent decision to embark in a polled program, Roundhill Inspiration (P), a son of Tigris Homo Polled Rr was acquired to produce cattle for this growing market. Inspiration’s first calves are eagerly anticipated and are due to be born in the late autumn. He was in Paddock 16 along with some in-calf cows and their 2016 born calves. Included in this batch were some impressive imported French cows and two sons of Hulk Dnc – these two late 2015 born bulls were much admired.

Emerson has produced some outstanding cattle not only in Ardlea but nationwide, he was on view in paddock 17. Now seven years old, he has in excess of 360 offspring in the Limousin herdbook. Also in Paddock 17 was 15 year old Saga, mother to the distinguished Ardlea Coillte who herself is mother to the renowned Elite Forever Brill Et (TVR), Elite Flag Et (EFZ), Elite Forever Free ET, Elite Forever 1 ET, Elite Fidelia ET and Elite Hostess ET.

Paddock 18 held an impressive display of cows with their young 2016 born calves. Clonmack Fleur and Carwin Hillery were included in this paddock, both of these cows are celebrated for their past successes in the show ring. In the neighbouring paddock was the two year old stock bull Jazz and a group of dry cows which are due to calve in October 2016.  In Paddock 20 guests observed an impressive group of maiden heifers from various sires including Emerson, Cesar and Vison, these heifers will be served in November 2016.

The highly regarded herd sire Aultside Hulk was paddocked with a number of in-calf cows and their 2016 born calves, some of whom were sired by Hulk. Hulk was purchased in 2014 at the British Limousin Society show and sale, where he had taken the intermediate championship. He is a vital cog in the bovine family in Ardlea. His first crop of calves were born in 2015 and are well-balanced cattle that are admired by all that see them. He has five star ratings in both Maternal and Terminal Index.

Paddocks 22 and 23 held young bulls – sons of Henzo and Aultside Hulk. These young bulls will be ready for market in the autumn. Paddock 24 held a number of cows with their 2016 born calves at foot. Some of the cows in this paddock are daughters of the home-bred sire Elite Abel Et. In Paddock 25 was Isora, a recent import from France. Isora is now an important member of the embryo team in Ardlea Elite. Craigatoke Jack, the newest bull to the herd was in Paddock 26 along with a group of autumn calving dry cows.

The 2016 show team were lined up in Paddock 27.  Household names including Elite Forever 1 ET, Elite Forever Free Et and Elite Hostess ET with the next generation, some of which will be seeking plaudits at the National Show in Cillin Hill, on Friday 26th August. At the Elite sale on Saturday 27th August Elite Hostess Et and her son Ardlea Laois will be offered for sale. Also on sale are some outstanding females: Elite Jinx Et, Elite Jacob ET, Elite Jenny Et, Elite Kitty, Elite Kiera (ET), Elite Kelda Et and Elite Ardlea Jacob, Jenny Kala Et.

On returning to the main farmyard, delegates mingled with other visitors and were able to enjoy a welcome cup of tea and sandwiches and savouries.

The team at Ardlea Elite would like to convey our gratitude to all involved with the running of this event – the car-park attendants, the stewards, the buggy drivers and the catering staff. Also the YMA members: Colin Kenny, John Smyth, Owen Hester, Catherine Smith, Eleanor O’Reilly, David Byrne, Conor Craig, Orla Curtin, Sean Maher, Sarah Murray, Darren O’Regan. Hugh Murray, Frank Corrigan, Michael and Ann Marie Gunn, Sarah Mc Elligott, Andrew and Catherine McCarthy, Dara and Cathal O’Meara, Oliver and Ciaran Byrne, Ciaran Kenny, John O’Reilly, Tommy Daly, Noel Kenny and Liam and Mary Delaney. Thanks must also go to the people that helped to get the cattle ready for the day – Clippers Ireland product were put to great use! Also the Order of Malta and the Gardai. Everyone in Beechill farm is indebted to their customers both new and old. Thanks also to ILCS staff and the ILC committee led by Frank Buckley, and all Ardlea Elites neighbours.

Delegates enjoyed a scrumptious meal at the Tynans family home, the succulent Limousin steaks were supplied by ILC2016 sponsors Ashbourne meats. Dinner was followed by lively entertainment which had guest singing along to “Molly Malone” and other well-known ballads.