Based on the Atlantic coast near Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, is Scurmore Farm, home of the Bostonia Herd.

Scurmore Farm consists of approximately 250ac of both owned and rented land and is owned by Brendan and Greg Feeney, two brothers originally from Co. Sligo but who are now based in Boston, in the US.

Agriland paid a visit to the farm ahead of its upcoming on-farm sale of pedigree heifers which is set to take place on Friday, August 12, at 6:00p.m.

Farm manager Niall Hynes explained that the enterprise consists of 80 commercial suckler cows, 35 pedigree suckler cows and 20 embryo-recipient cows calving down each year.

The farm runs down to the Sligo Atlantic coast and has a dry, sandy soil type. While the dry soil is beneficial for grazing in the shoulders of the year, it can cause grass to burn in July.

The farm is well equipped with both infrastructure and equipment. 15 calving pens, along with ample dry-bedded and slatted winter housing are available in the farm yard.

The farm also has an impressive inventory of machinery to complete various tasks.

The cows on the farm are predominantly spring-calving, however the embryo-recipient cows start calving in august.

Every year, a portion of the spring-born weanlings are out-wintered on forage crops such as Redstart or kale, with the commercial cattle finished as beef the following season.

In the commercial herd the replacement heifers are identified and kept, while the remaining breeding heifers are sold at the local mart. All other progeny from the commercial suckler herd are finished as beef.

Two home-bred stockbulls run with commercial herd. Niall said “one is a Thrunton Bonjovi-sired Charolais bull, and the other is a CF52-sired bull”.

The pedigrees

The pedigree herd was established in 2013. The foundation pedigree Charolais cows, sourced from embryos, were purchased from the Maerdy Herd based in the UK.

From here, the herd was developed over the years by keeping replacements and buying females.

In 2019, the herd purchased two pedigree Limousin cows and the first batch of Limousin calves arrived on the farm in 2020.

Niall said: “The two Limousin heifers purchased in 2019 came from the Millburn Limousin Herd. We had a successful flush with these heifers.

“Within 14 months of the heifers being in the farm, we had nine pedigree females off one heifer and the other, a Goldies Jackpot heifer, had two pedigree bulls.”

The first pedigree Limousin bull born on the farm, Bostonia Rocky ET, won the Senior Male Champion at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society sale on March 12, this year.

An In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programme is in operation on the farm.

“We work with with Paddy Buckley from AB Ireland,” said Niall.

“The embryo is fertilised at a lab in Cork and in seven days, the frozen or fresh embryos are ready.

“The benefit of IVF for us is when we are using more expensive semen, one straw can be used on up to five cows whereas with the traditional flushing route, you could be using 3-4 straws on one cow.”

Some of the more famous Charolais cows in the herd include Bostonia Joy and Drumshane Mademoiselle.

Drumshane Mademoiselle’s accolades include:

  • Junior champion at the Royal Highland Show 2017;
  • Overall Charolais Champion at the Balmoral Show 2018;
  • Charolais and interbreed champion at the Ballina show in 2018;
  • Charolais champion at the Longford show 2018;
  • Overall national champion at the Tullamore Show in 2018.

Niall said Drumshane Mademoiselle “would probably be the be one of our most famous cows”.

Of Drumshane Mademoiselle’s first two sons born on the farm, one was sold to an AI (artificial insemination) company K genetics (Bostonia Ringo) and the other bull, Bostonia Robyn Hood ET, was sold to the Woodpark Pedigree Herd based in Northern Ireland.”

The sale

The sale will feature a total of 30 pedigree heifers, 25 of which are Charolais and five of which are Limousin heifers.

There is a range of in-calf heifers, maiden heifers and heifers with calves at foot and the sale heifers are sired by both AI and stockbulls.

The AI sires include:

  • CF52;
  • Goldstar Echo;
  • Pirate, Major;
  • LGL.

The stock bull sires include:

  • Roughan Nevers;
  • Bostonia Jameson.

“This is a production sale,” said Niall.

“We’re settled on a number of pedigree females to include. These are surplus females off our top cows and includes some of the finest heifers we have had here in years.”

The sale will take place on-farm with online bidding also available through the LSL Auctions app. If bidding online, farmers must register with Thomas J. Cox on LSL ahead of the sale.

An opportunity to view the heifers on sale will be available today (Saturday, August 6) at Scurmore Farms, Scurmore, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, (F26 F5N2) between 1:00-4:00pm.

There will also be a viewing on the sale day between 3:00-6:00p.m.

Ariel view of the farm

All heifers in the Sligo sale are export tested, clear of Johne’s disease and are Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) negative.

All heifers in the sale are over one year vaccinated for Leptospirosis and Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and all calves and yearlings in the sale have been vaccinated for Blackleg and pneumonia.