About Us 

Danny & Dan Somers farm at Barnacleagh, outside Arklow, Co. Wicklow. They milk between 230-240 montbeliarde cows on a holding of 200 acres. Replacement heifers and heifer calves are kept and the males and continental females are sold on. 
When I questioned Danny on why they chose Montbeliardes as a breed he simply replied by accident about 30 years ago. At the time he was farming jointly with his brother and had about 50 sucklers, 50 dairy cows and sheep. They thought the montbeliarde suited both enterprises a good milker for the dairy herd and could rear a few calves for the suckler herd. They decided to purchase 21 of them from Pat Dunphy from Co. Waterford, famous for his greyhounds. He had brought in a herd of Montbeliardes from France a few years previously. At the time, Danny recalls, some of the ones he purchased were producing 35 litres. 5 were heifers. Quotas came in and Danny’s brother wasn’t interested in milking so he took the sucklers and sheep and Danny took on the dairy side. Danny was happy to stick with the montbeliarde and went on to increase the herd using stock bulls initially. He purchased them from Burkes, Austin’s, Handbridge’s and Fitzgerald’s. Danny was keeping virtually all their stock to finish, selling surplus heifers and some calves. When the quotas were gone Danny & Dan decided to concentrate on the milk and milk solids and moved away from fattening cattle. Dan completed an A.I. course and collars were used to pick up on heats which he found were a huge benefit. 100% A.I. is now used on the milking herd. Bulls are chosen, with the help of Ferreol Roche, Coopex France, a free service through Dovea. 
100 Sexed straws were purchased in 2023. Dan selects his best cows to use them on. 
The breeding heifers are A.I.ed for a month and a dairy stock bull is then introduced. 
Beef straws used were Belgian blues BB4438 & BB8019, some red Angus. Bulls predominantly with red genes. 
Montbeliarde Cattle 

Why Montbeliarde? 

They tick all the boxes high milk volume and solids, longevity, a saleable bull calf and high cull cow value. 
Dan & Danny are milking on a grass based system. Autumn and Spring Calving. Feeding approx. 800 kgs. 1000kgs of meal or more in a drought situation with a buffer of maize. They fatten the cull cows, some go straight to the factory from the parlour. 
They grade O’s & R’s. Average price for these in 2023 were approx. 1600 euro. At a cold weight of approx... 327kgs. 
Bull calves are sold at 3-6 weeks old. Montbeliarde bulls averaged 190 euro in 2023. 
Continental calves, Belgian blues, limousine and Aubrac averaged 280 euro – the aubrac would have brought the price back to this. 
Somers’s have signed up for Genotyping. Whole milk is fed to the calves. 
231 cows were milk recorded in June 2023. 
Average days in milk 127 days. 
Milk volume 6734 litres predicted. 

1st Lactation 

49 heifers recorded. 
Average days in milk 145. 
Milk volume 5909 litres predicted. 

2nd Lactation 

2nd lactation 46 cows. 
Average days in milk 144. 
Milk volume 6496 litres predicted. 

3rd Lactation 

3rd lactation 47 cows. 
Average days in milk 132. 
Milk volume 6929 litres predicted. 

4th Lactation 

4 + lactations 89 cows. 
Average days in milk 105. 
Milk volume 7210 litres predicted. 
For more information about the Montbeliarde Cattle Society of Ireland and our offerings, please explore our website or contact us directly. We are here to assist you in any way we can. 
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