The Irish Charolais Cattle Society is set to host a show and sale of Charolais bulls at Tullamore Mart on Saturday, November 5, where 123 Charolais bulls will be on offer.

All bulls are genotyped, sire verified, myostatin tested and will be pre-sale inspected.

All bulls are also fertility tested and bulls sold within the Republic of Ireland are fertility insured.

At the sale, the purchasers of the five highest-priced bulls will each receive a €200 voucher for Greenvale Animal Feeds. 

The sale will be followed by the Elite Charolais Heifer Show and Sale, at Tullamore on Saturday, November 12, where 115 pedigree Charolais heifers will be on offer.

Once again, all heifers are genotyped; sire verified; myostatin tested; will be pre-sale inspected; export tested; and eligible for export to Northern Ireland on the day.

Free transport is available to Northern Ireland from this sale. The purchasers of the five highest-priced heifers will each receive a €250 premium. There will also be free first-time membership with the society for any first-time buyers at this sale.

Why Charolais?

Two suckler farmers have different reasons for why they choose Charolais.

Hubert Nicholson from Co. Meath runs approximately 85 suckler cows in association with his brother Matthew, 75% of which are Charolais cross. The focus of the Nicholson’s is breeding replacement females, with milk and fertility.

Apart from the replacements retained in the herd, all progeny are put to beef. This means as well as producing females with strong maternal qualities, the cattle must also have the ability to gain weight efficiently, grade, weigh, and pay at slaughter.

This is where the breed is key for the Nicholson’s.

Weight for age

An important tool the Nicholson’s use is Myosatin testing. Hubert has found the combination of the F94L and the Q204X genes to work quite well, with a good balance of maternal and terminal traits coming to the fore.

A Charolais-cross cow and Charolais bull calf on the Nicholson’s farm

To help farmers chose the right animal for them, all animals at official Charolais Society Sales are now myostatin tested.

Some might think that the maternal type cattle used on this farm would struggle to pay their way as good beef cattle at slaughter. This is far from the case.

A typical Charolais-cross weanling bull on the farm

Bulls are slaughtered at 20 months of age. All bulls grade U, with the last batch of bulls averaging 420kg deadweight.

The standard is much the same across the board on the heifers. They are slaughtered under 30 months of age, with the last group averaging 360kg deadweight.

Charolais-cross bulls being finished on the farm

It is not too often you come across a suckler enterprise so focused on producing replacement females. The fact that is does not affect the performance of the cattle from a terminal point of view is extremely positive, and proof that maternal type Charolais can perform at the highest level.

Efficiency is so important on this farm, simply because it must make financial sense. This farm is proof that maternal Charolais can tick all the boxes if the breeding policy and management is right.

Charolais-cross salers

Another cross that seems to be ticking all the boxes is the Charolais-cross Salers. Not far from Borrisokane in Co. Tipperary, Robert Harding farms full time. He runs approximately 80 Salers cross cows, most of which are crossed with a Charolais stockbull. The results from which are truly outstanding.

Bull calves are sold as weanlings, with the heifers brought to beef. Robert finds that the cross suits his system perfectly.

“I can sell my Charolais as weanlings or bring them to beef, that is the beauty of the Charolais as a sire,” he said.

An example of the Charolais-cross bull calves on the farm

One of the most successful purchases on the farm was the Charolais bull, Knockmahon Master. Robert describes this bull as the best bull ever used in the herd.

Unfortunately, Master got hurt earlier this year and had to be culled. He killed out with a staggering carcass weight of 806kg and graded a E=. The most recent Charolais bull used on the farm is a son of CF 52.

An example of the Charolais-cross heifer calves on the farm

In May of this year Robert sold his Autumn 2021-born weanling bulls at an average age of eight months old. The first batch averaged 420kg and sold for an average of €1,230. The younger weanling bulls averaged 394kg and sold for an average of €1,125.

Last February Robert brought Charolais-cross heifers to the fatstock show and sale in Portumna Mart, where he received first prize and sold for the top price. The most recent group of heifers were slaughtered at an average age of 25 months old. They killed out with an average carcass weight of 425kg and graded a U= on average.

The efficiency of this herd speaks for itself. In 2021, the average calving interval of the herd was 364 days. The number of calves produced/cow was 0.99.

Robert is quick to point out that his weanling’s top whatever marts they sell at.

It is refreshing to see an efficient, profitable, and sustainable suckling system in the heartland of Ireland. Charolais as a terminal sire combined with the maternal traits of the Salers cow makes this system a winning combination. More importantly, as a full-time farming operation. 

If you would like to invest in Europe’s number one beef breed, you can do so at one of the Society’s two upcoming Sales. Catalogues for both sales are available at