The first of our member profiles comes from Brian and Pearse O’Kane of Lower Bolie Salers.
LOWER BOLIE SALERS
My father Brian and I, (Pearse) run a herd of 30 Salers cows in Greysteel, Co Derry. Our farm is at our home house in “in the hills of Killywool” which overlooks Lough Foyle. Due to work commitments we farm on a part time basis. We were on the lookout for easy calving cows, and to be able to produce a good calf for the weanling market.
We kept a mixture of cows, using beef shorthorn AI to breed replacements. We then came across an advert for the “ultimate suckler cow” on the internet. With Simmental and Belgian blue heifers ready to AI at the time we thought we would give the Salers bull a go, although we were told by the AI man “go and get your head looked they are wild!!!”
Needless to say, we didn’t listen to him and went ahead and tried them out – sure enough when it came to calving time the heifers all calved themselves and the calves were up and sucking in minutes! We then saw a sale of pedigree Salers Cows with Charolais calf’s at foot sold at our local market and the consistent yellow calf made our minds up!
Our first 2 pedigree heifers were purchased in 2012 from Ballykeel Salers (Co Down).
Now 8 years on, we have weaned out all other breeds apart from one shorthorn cow and the rest are all pure Salers! We have built our herd from buying heifers off some of the top herds in the North and South of Ireland and with using AI Salers bulls. All our pedigree Salers heifers so far have been retained in our herd for breeding.
Our first Salers bull was purchased in 2018, Brookfields Majestic at 7 months old from Geoff Wilson, Dromore, Co Down.
Our best selection of cows and heifers are put to the Salers and the rest go to the Culard Charolais.
Salers cows are renowned for being “easy calved” this in our experience is true. We only have to assist our cows at calving when there is a problem, such as; a calf coming backwards or a leg down!
The golden calf
Our Salers x Charolais calf’s are born from February to April. They are sold at the weanling sales coming off the cow in October, and with a uniform batch of calves they look incredibly well at the market!
Lower Bolie Salers first started showing in 2016 with LowerBolie Kizzy, who stood 1st in her class at Omagh and Castlewellan. In 2017 we then purchased 3 heifers – Brookfields Abbey, Eva and Rosheen for foundation to breed top quality stock. We then went onto win champion at Newry show 2017 with senior heifer Abbey.
2018 was a good year on the show circuit! Home bred heifer Lower Bolie Molly was 1st in her class in 6 shows out of 8 and stood reserve champion at Clougher Valley show. Eva was res champion at Balmoral show and champion at Armagh, Newry, Saintfield and Castlewellan. Eva and Molly went on to win junior and senior female of the year 2018!
In 2019 Lower Bolie Neala, daughter of Abbey was junior and reserve champion at Balmoral show and interbreed res champion at Newry show. Rosheen was champion of Armagh and Castlwellan and was also senior female of the year 2019!
The next generation