Donal Scully farms just outside Banoge in Co Limerick.

A previous participant in the Teagasc/Irish Farmers Journal BETTER farm beef programme, Donal worked hard during the programme to increase stocking rate and output on the farm and was one of the top performers in the programme.

He grew his suckler herd from 35 cows to over 70 cows in recent years but has taken the decision to exit suckler beef farming and head down the dairying route.

He said: “I suppose we just felt that the time was right and that we needed to change.

“I love suckling and to be honest 2021 hasn’t been a bad year but we’ve been looking at it for a while now and it was time to move.

The average replacement index of the herd is €124.

“It’s like changing the car - when you take the notion, it’s hard to change your mind.

“We’ve put a huge amount of work into the herd over the years and it will be hard to see them go.”


The herd of 70 cows is among the top herds in the country.

The herd is working inside the top 5% in the country on the replacement index. The average replacement index of the herd is €124.

The highest replacement index cow in the herd is €197.

The majority of the cows have been genotyped and are mostly all by AI bulls.

“We bought into the index while keeping an eye on the terminal side of things and it worked out for us.

All cows have been vaccinated for Leptospirosis and IBR

“We have a herd of very fertile, very milky cows [top 1% in the country on milk kg sub index] capable of producing U grade progeny when they are matched with the right bull.

“We’ve been hitting our target liveweight gains and we’ve been consistently hitting over 400kg carcass for our under-16-month bulls for a number of years now.

The sale will include 20 16-month-old maiden heifers suitable for breeding.

“We concentrated on AI usage and used it to our advantage when matching bulls to different cows.”

Included in the sale are:

  • One eight-year-old cow (seventh-calving cow).
  • Six seven-year-old cows (sixth-calving cows).
  • Nine six-year-old cows (fifth-calving cows).
  • 17 five-year-old cows (fourth-calving cows).
  • 12 four-year-old cows (third-calving cows).
  • 10 three-year-old cows (second-calving cows).
  • 14 two-year-old cows (first-calving cows).
  • There are also 20 16-month-old maiden heifers scanned suitable for breeding included in the sale.

    There are 65 cows with three- to 12-week-old calves at foot. Cows are cycling regularly and ready for breeding again. Calves at foot are by AI bulls, FSZ, LM4217, ZAG, SI2152, AA4088 and a five-star Limousin bull.

    The majority of the calves a re AI bred, by FSZ, LM2417, ZAG and SI2152

    Six of the cows included in the sale have six-month-old bull calves at foot and are scanned back in calf to FSZ and ZAG calving in February and March 2022.

    Cows are all vaccinated for IBR and Leptospirosis and calves have all been vaccinated for IBR, RSV and PI3.

    Calves have all been vaccinated for IBR, RSV nad PI3.

    The herd has been clear of TB for the last 10 years and will have C10 status next month.

    The sale will take place in Gortatlea Mart, Ballymac, Tralee, Co Kerry, on Thursday 19 August at 5.30pm.

    Enquiries to Maurice Brosnan on 087-234 4433 or the mart office on 066-713 7244.