Farm: “I farm a pedigree Charolais and commercial herd of suckler cows in Tullynanegish, Co Monaghan. Simone’s father gave her 9ac and the yard here and we purchased another 27ac of ground to expand the farm in Castleblayney.”

Pedigree: “The herd operates under the Rockvalley prefix and is quite new. We have been working off one main breeding cow which we have been successfully flushing. We are also aiming to breed commercial show calves with our crossbred cows and again we have been utilising flushing to help speed up the process.”

Prettylady: “The matriarch of our pedigree Charolais herd is Birches Prettylady who we purchased as a maiden heifer. Her dam, Tawny Jasmine, was a heifer I really admired and she was then purchased by the Birches in Northern Ireland. I had said all along if there was ever an opportunity to buy a heifer from her I would. The same week we bought our house I saw Prettylady go up for sale and said to Simone ‘we have a problem here’. We went on to purchase her in the end and she has done really well for us.”

Off farm: “Both of us work off farm. I work as a farm manager with Country Crest, running the commercial finishing operation along with the pedigree Angus and Hereford herds. Simone holds a PhD in animal breeding from Grange and now works as a lecturer in Dundalk IT. “My role with running the pedigrees for Country Crest will also see me showing some of their animals as well as our own, so it’s all hands on deck for summer shows.”

New shed: “We recently completed the work on our new pedigree shed. It’s kitted out with four calving pens, as with using embryo transfers we can have four to five cows all due the one day. There is a three-bay tank with a peat lie back for our show animals or pedigree bulls. Before this we had been using an outwintering pad so this is a major step in developing our farm and herd.”

A new bespoke shed has recently been completed on Simone and Niall's farm, which will house the pedigree and commercial show cattle.