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Martin Connolly


Location: Milltown, Castleplunket, Co. Roscommon

Farm size: 60ha

Current System: 21-22 month Friesian bull beef

Local Teagasc advisor: Gerard Cregg

Martin has been rearing dairy-bred calves, bringing them to beef, for many years. A number of years ago, he was purchasing continental weanlings and store cattle along with the dairy calves and bringing them to slaughter.

With dairy herds expanding and calves becoming more plentiful, Martin decided to increase his dairy calf to beef enterprise while no longer buying continental-bred animals.

The farm consists of 60ha, with 22ha being owned and 38ha leased. There is the home block and five outer blocks; however they are all within two miles of each other.

The high level of fragmentation, combined with the general heavy nature of land in the area, brings challenges in terms of grassland management and especially grazing at the shoulders of the year.

Martin has been purchasing 100-120 calves each year and increased to 160 calves in 2021. He has a strong relationship with four dairy farmers in the area, from whom the majority of calves are sourced. This rules out having to go to marts to source calves while at the same time gives Martin peace of mind that the calves are getting a good start in life.

The farm is stocked at 1.8LU/Ha. Martin has installed a number of temporary paddocks and drinkers on the farm over the past number of years and has begun reseeding some of the leased land to improve the pasture quality

20-25 store cattle are sold off farm each year, as housing space for finishing cattle is limited. Martin also runs a silage and slurry contracting business alongside the dairy calf to beef enterprise.