The Ampertaine herd of pedigree Limousins is run by the McKay family; William and his wife Jean and their son James at Maghera, Co Derry, Northern Ireland.
Established in 1986 the herd currently numbers 100 cows which are grazed across 250 acres of grassland with bulls produced for sale both at home and at the British Limousin Society sales at Carlisle.
Since the herd’s inception the aim of the McKay family has been to produce sound, well fleshed commercial bulls suited to the Northern Irish commercial suckler producer. In recent years a number of top quality bulls have also been sold for pedigree use both in Northern Ireland and across the UK.
Having run a commercial suckler herd alongside the pedigree herd for a number of years, the family took the decision to move to an entirely pedigree herd in 2002 and subsequently brought in new female lines from the Kype and Shannas herds in Scotland.
Since then the herd has concentrated on breeding the best bulls it can to suit the local market, with 30-40 bulls sold from home each year.
Highlights in recent years have included the sale of Ampertaine Foreman at 38,000gns in February 2012, Ampertaine Elgin at 32,000gns in May 2011, Ampertaine Commander at 20,000gns in May 2009 and in 2007 the herd sold Ampertaine Bravo at 24,000gns and Ampertaine Abracadabra at 29,000gns.
Females from the herd have been sold privately to a top of 10,000gns, with no females offered for sale by public auction at this stage.
The herd has won the Northern Irish herd competition’s large herd section every year it has entered and in 2011 was named champion herd in the Northern Irish herd competition in the first year an overall championship had been awarded.
Breeding policy for the herd is based solely on AI, with no stock bulls used in the herd. AI sires are chosen to ensure the herd stays at the forefront of the breed and are selected to maximise ease of calving, milkiness and shape in both our males and females.
Visitors to the herd are welcome at any time by prior appointment, with the farm just 45 minutes from Belfast International Airport.