Location: Navan, Co. Meath
Farm size: 60ha
Current System: 18-20 month heifers and 22-26 month steers
Local Teagasc Advisor: David Argue
Aidan is currently farming 46ha of grassland and 14ha of forestry in Navan, Co. Meath. The farm is in two blocks with 40ha being owned and 20ha leased. Previous to rearing dairy calves, Aidan had been operating a tillage enterprise along with keeping a group of suckler cows. Almost 20 years ago, he decided to cut back on cow numbers, quit the tillage and start to operate a dairy calf to beef enterprise.
Usually Aidan would buy between 100 and 110 Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Friesian calves each year – split between autumn and spring rearing. The Angus and Hereford calves were kept on the farm until they reached 20 months old while the Friesian calves were sold at 18 months of age. All cattle were sold as forward stores. The system has now changed with all animals carried to slaughter; heifers are slaughtered at 18-20 months, while steers are marketed at 22-26 months.
Aidan is an excellent grassland manager and has installed a paddock grazing system to maximise animal performance from grazed grass. He has also focused on improving soil fertility through lime and targeted fertiliser applications. A big focus for the farm going forward will be on the inclusion of clover – both red and white – to silage and grazing swards.
Aidan’s son Luke has a keen interest in the home farm and helps out in the evenings and weekends. Alongside the farm, Aidan also operates a silage contracting operation.