Location: Boher, Co. Limerick
Farm size: 74ha
Current system: Friesian steers (22-24 months) and early-maturing heifers (20 months)
Local Teagasc advisor: Aileen Walsh
Farm update: December 2021
Ciaran Bartley runs a dairy calf to beef enterprise on 74ha – some of which is heavy – in Boher, Co. Limerick.
In the region of 160 calves are purchased annually, with the vast majority being Friesian males. A small number of early-maturing calves are also purchased to be marketed as heifers or sold as stores to aid cash flow. All calves are sourced directly off farm, a move Ciaran made in recent springs and this has had positive benefits for calf health and mortaility levels on farm.
Ciaran has moved to pull back the age of slaughter considerably through improved animal performance. This management practice has resulted in similar carcass weights being generated at three months younger.
His farm is split into two distinctive sections – the home block of 29ha and an adjoining block of 45ha. Carrying a stocking rate of 2LU/ha and divided up into a number of permanent and temporary paddocks, there’s potential to increase the tonnage of grass and utilised by improving the grazing infrastructure available.
Soil analysis completed in early 2019 indicated that 50% of the paddocks on the farm required lime, while just three paddocks were at the optimum indices for phosphorous and potassium. Since the initial round of soil testing, Ciaran has addressed the lime issue and has seen improvements in P and K indices; over 70% of the farmed area is now at the optimum levels for P and K.
As some of the farm is quite heavy and turnout can be delayed, a focus will be placed on improving silage quality. This will help to lower the variable costs associated with feeding concentrates to weanlings and finishing stock over the winter months.