Signpost Demonstration Farmers
There are 12 Signpost demonstration farmers in the region
Find out more about the farmers, their enterprises, climate actions they are undertaking and read recent updates.
Dairy | Future Beef | DairyBeef 500 | Tillage/Pigs | Poultry
Future Beef Farmers
Ken Gill, Ballydermot House, Clonbullogue, Co. Offaly
Ken farms 95 hectares full-time. Soil type on the farm is grey brown podzolic & texture is silty clay loam. His farm has a WFSR of 110kgs/Ha & a GSR of 133kgs/Ha. A full symbol organic producer, Ken operates a suckler to beef system with 70 Autumn calving suckler cows. All progeny are brought to beef with the aim to slaughter at 24mth. Plans for the future are to improve the quality of the cows using 100% AI, to improve grass swards by both reseeding as part of the rotation & by using an Einbock grass harrow to stitch in grass/clover mixtures on the old pastures. Local Advisor Paul Gibney.
John Dunne, Tinnacrannagh House, Portarlington, Co. Offaly
John farms full-time with weekend help from his son James. He farms 106Ha; 50% of the land soil is light clay nature, 40% is heavy clay and the remaining 10% is low lying land. He is stocked at 181 Kg/N Ha, exporting slurry to a neighbouring tillage farmer as per Nitrates Regulations. He runs a sucker to beef system with 88 Spring–calving suckler cows. He aiming to rebuild his Suckler herd to 100. 100 calves purchased per year - (HE/AA) crosses. John trys to buy local and minimise the number of farms he buys from for health reasons. Local advisor is Bernard Doorley.
Wesley Browne, Leagh, Dunraymond, Co. Monaghan
Wesley farms full-time in Leagh, Dunraymond, Co. Monaghan. He farms 65.7Ha in 4 blocks. The soil is heavy drumlin-type soil. He is stocked at 167kgs N/Ha. He runs a spring calving suckler herd of 84. All male progeny are finished as less than 16 mth bulls & the suitable high index females are retained or sold to repeat customers for breeding, with all other heifers slaughtered at 23-24mth. The plan is to maintain his breeding performance & continue to build on his breeding values. He has also invested in building soil fertility & pH over the last number of years. Local advisor Conal Murnaghan.
Alan Clarke, Killinkere, Virginia, Co. Cavan
Alan farms with his father Tommy. Dairying is the main enterprise, milking 140 cows. He has students working with him in the Springtime as well as relief milking. They are farming 96Ha & soil type is heavy. The overall stocking rate is 160kg organic N/Ha. EBI of the herd is €145 & the heifers are €181. 6 week calving rate is 89%. The cows produced 459kg MS/cow in 2020. Grass grown on the farm was 12.3t DM/Ha in 2020. Facilities on the farm are good including an 18 unit parlour, cubicle space for 146 cows, 30 paddocks with multiple access points & 2 underpasses. Teagasc Advisor is Niamh Lynch.
Kieran McDermot, Corkimmons, Clones, Co. Monaghan
Kieran farms 56Ha in 1 block. He is milking 90 high EBI cows and rearing replacements, the overall stocking rate was 171kg organic N/Ha in 2020. The herd produced 453kg MS/cow in 2020, with a herd EBI of €118. 6 week calving rate is 89%. The EBI of 2021 calves is €204. The farm mixed soil types ranging from heavy clay soils to free draining light. Facilities on the farm includes a 14 unit parlour with cubicle space for 106 cows. Grazing infrastructure is continually upgraded and developed on the farm.
Michael Clarke, Gaybrook, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Michael is farming with his wife Lynn and son Liam. Dairying is the main enterprise, milking 255 cows. They are farming 167.74Ha. The overall stocking rate is 180kg organic N/Ha. The EBI of the herd is €159 & the heifers are €201. The 6 week calving rate is 79%. The cows produced 454kg MS/cow in 2020. Soil type is 50% peat and 50% heavy loom. Estimated grass grown on the farm as 12t DM/Ha in 2020. Facilities on the farm are good with a 24 unit parlour, cubicle space for 280 cows, good grazing infrastructure with a good central roadway with spurs. The silage pit needs refurbishment.
Shaun Maguire, Toberlion, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan
Shaun in partnership with wife Trina are milking a 127 dairy cows on a 46Ha milking platform. In total the farm consists of 80 hectares, giving the farms fragmented nature the outside blocks are used for replacement heifer rearing and silage production. Soil quality is good. 2020 herd supplied 531kg MS/Cow. 6 week calving rate is 70%, with a calving interval of 371 days. Herd EBI is €125, with 2021 calves averaging €186. Shaun uses a large team of High EBI black and white bulls, which are being selected to target improvements in fertility, and milk composition.
Conor Camon, Cloghan, Co. Offaly
Conor is farming in Cloghan in Offaly in partnership with his parents Padraig and Mary. They are currently farming 80Ha, of which 20 is rented. The milking platform is 22Ha and is stocked at 4.7 cows/Ha. In 2021 they milked 100 cows. The EBI of the herd is €155 and the heifers are €216. The 6 week calving rate is 87%. The cows produced 516kg MS/cow in 2020. The farm grew 11.5t DM/Ha in 2020. Facilities on the farm are good with a 12 unit parlour, good housing and good grazing infrastructure throughout the farm.
Padraig & Conor Canon - Farm Update
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Farm Update Padraig & Conor Canon
Tillage & Pigs Farmer
Mattie & Miriam Moore, Cannakill, Rhode, Co. Offaly
This farm is a 1,600 sow operation rearing pigs to 18kg liveweight in Rhode, Co. Offaly. The pigs are then transferred to the finishing farm in Rath East townland in Co. Wicklow to be finished. The focus is on the Offaly farm where there is over 95 Ha of land growing tillage crops alongside the sow unit. The cereals grown are then used in the diets of the pigs which are milled/mixed at the finishing site in Wicklow and transported back to the sow farm. Facilities on the farm are good and 10 people are employed on the sow farm.
Belview Egg Farm Ltd
Free Range Egg Production
Dermot Herlihy began egg production in 1978 with 5,000 hens expanding to 3 Enriched Colony Systems by 2010. In 2020, Belview established their free-range unit at Carrickbaggot in County Louth. The unit is divided into 4 multi-tier laying houses, each containing 15,000 birds and has a central egg collection room.
The farm is located on 168 acres of land. Point-of-Lay pullets are transferred at 16 weeks of age to the production house. Birds are given access to the range every day. Hens produce on average 346 eggs during the laying cycle of 60 weeks.
Farm Manager John Roche who has 10 years’ experience with poultry runs both farms, with two full time and six part time staff. Rachel Johnson is the General Manager in Belview Eggs, with Dermot Herlihy as Managing Director.
Signpost Farm Measures Undertaken
Energy efficiency is key in layer systems due to the amount of energy used in the system. Belview Eggs will establish the energy used by each system in the unit. By establishing the kW being used, methods to reduce this can be identified.
Belview Eggs will aim to reduce the carbon footprint of producing Free Range eggs. To do this, the carbon footprint must be established. Once established, methods will then be identified and put in place to reduce the CO2 produced per dozen eggs.
Belview Eggs export manure primarily to tillage producers in the local area. In conjunction with the tillage advisers a Nutrient Management Plan will be developed and implemented on the importing tillage farms.
Lidl Ireland Climate Supplier of the Year – 2022
Lidl Ireland ecognise Belview Eggs for establishing a carbon footprint for Free Range egg production in Ireland and Ireland’s first poultry farmer to be part of the Teagasc Signpost Programme.
Belview Egg Farm are Teagasc’s poultry Signpost Farm with Rebecca Tierney been their Teagasc poultry adviser. The company was established in 1978 by Dermot & Nicola Herlihy with a mere 5,000 hens and has since grown to Ireland’s fourth largest egg packing centre and the largest egg packer and producer in Leinster. The company is currently run by Dermot Herlihy and Rachel Johnson. Belview supply eggs to Lidl, Musgraves, Iceland, Applegreen, BWG, Glanbia and Tesco. The packing centre employs 30 staff and additional 10 staff on their two poultry sites.
In 2020 Belview Eggs built the largest free range layer site in Ireland, Carrickbaggot Free Range Farm, situated on 168 acres of grassland. The house is constructed with four 15,000 bird units under one roof, with a central egg collection room. The unit is managed by John Roche, with the assistance of two full time staff, six part time staff and a robotic egg palletiser.
Belview Eggs have undertaken a number of measures through the Signpost Programme, these include the establishment of the kWh used for the production of free range eggs; as well as establishing a carbon footprint for free range eggs. When this has been completed, Belview Eggs will begin implementing strategies to reduce both energy usage and the farms carbon footprint.
Belview Eggs export manure primarily to tillage producers in the local area. In conjunction with the tillage advisers, a Nutrient Management Plan will be developed and implemented on the importing to tillage farms.
Belview Eggs are working to reduce their CO2 emissions by changing over to electric company cars with 4 vehicles in the fleet now fully electric.
The company also plans to remove all of its fluorescent lighting from both factory & farm and change to LED throughout.
92% of the egg cartons used at Belview Eggs have been changed over to pulp; 100% of their egg cartons are supplied by sustainably sourced suppliers.
Belview Egg Farm were recently awarded Lidl Ireland Climate Supplier of the Year for 2022. The award was received as recognition for Belview’s work on establishing the carbon footprint of Free Range egg production and for being Irelands’ first poultry farmer to be part of the Teagasc Signpost Programme. Belview Eggs were one of 5 company’s first picked by Lidl in 2021 to be part of their Supplier Engagement Programme.