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Ivan McMullan, Carnlough

Ivan McMullan with his European Angus
cattle on his farm at Carnlough.

Ivan McMullan, a fourth generation farmer farms beef cattle and sheep in Carnlough in the Glens of Antrim. Quality beef sourced from his European Angus herd has come in for award-winning recognition.

Ivan McMullan was introduced to European Angus back in 2005.
“I was involved with the Focus Farm project at that time and a number of representatives from European Angus paid a visit to the farm,” explained Ivan. “Following on from that I got to know more about the organisation, and in particular, their thinking on breeding policies.”

At that time Ivan, along with a group of farmers from the area, had been sourcing replacement cattle from farmers as far away as Inverness – working with pure bred Friesian herds and then sourcing back the heifer calves.

“We already had a nucleus of good cows but I was looking for a bull to cross with them that would provide me with consistency,” confirmed Ivan. “What I am after is a good consistent cow, all similarly bred, and that is what we are now achieving with European Angus.”

Ivan McMullan's European Angus cattle grazing
on his farm at picturesque Carnlough

He purchased his first European Angus stock bull, Bannside Black Lord from County Down farmer, Harry McGaffin.

Right from the start Ivan was delighted with the results.
“The main benefits we see with European Angus is having the eating quality of the Limousin and  Angus whilst retaining good lean meat yield from the carcases and better grading results,” said Ivan. “The other big advantage is we can now operate a fairly closed herd policy. It is hard currently to get good replacement heifers but we find that with the European Angus we can breed ourselves we have a constant supply of good quality heifers coming onto the farm.”

With Ivan McMullan having a retail element to his business that’s extremely important.
“With the Farm Shop I can’t have six cattle ready this week and then no cattle for a month,” said Ivan.

“We need a constant supply on a weekly basis.

“So that is another benefit of European Angus – they will carry through or if I need to finish cattle quickly I can do so because of their natural fleshing ability.

Ivan McMullan's European Angus cattle
feeding on lush grass

“What we are finding with European Angus is that we are getting terrific loins, which as a result, we are having to let the cattle go younger, generally in around 18 to 20 months with weights achieved ranging from 300kg up to 340kg deadweight.”

Ivan has recently acquired a second European Angus stock bull, again supplied by Harry McGaffin.

Called Bannside Boy this bull has a terrific temperament according to Ivan.

“Again for me that’s important where breeding is concerned,” said Ivan. “If a bull has a tendancy to be a bit fiery in temperament you don’t want those traits coming through in the herd.”
Of course, the main concern is producing quality beef and Ivan McMullan has no problem doing that at all.

His European Angus beef won 8 Gold Star Awards in 'The Great Taste Awards' held in London in 2009.
The quality is in the eating.

Farming with Ivan is very much a a one-man operation and he is kept extremely busy.
However, he receives tremendous support from his wife, Lynn and daughters, Katie and Rachael.

Ivan McMullan is delighted with the quality of the beef from his European Angus herd.

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