Location: Castlemartyr, Co. Cork
Farm size: 34.4ha of grassland
Current System: Calf to bull beef
Local Teagasc Advisor: Karen Dukelow
Located just outside Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, Pat Collins operates a mixed farming system, consisting of 34.4ha of grassland – the majority of which is leased - and a tillage enterprise.
Having first ventured into calf rearing in 2017, with the purchase of 50 calves, numbers have grown considerably since. In the spring of 2018, 168 calves were reared. This climbed to 192 in the spring of 2021.
All of the calves are sourced from local dairy herds and this reduces the calves’ exposure to disease. It’s also an opportunity for Pat to witness the cows in the herd, the farm management practices and the emphasis placed on health and hygiene by the dairy farmer. Initially, Pat operated a calf to store system, with animals sold to meet rising demand from grass buyers. The focus has since transitioned to a mainly a Holstein Friesian bull beef system, with inputs purchased from the tillage enterprise used in finishing and growing rations.
Over recent years, Pat has invested heavily in grassland. As some of the ground was previously under tillage, a large degree of reseeding has been undertaken with high-yielding perennial ryegrass varieties. The grassland area has also been serviced by a paddock and water system. In addition, given the farm’s location, an early turnout is targeted. Through a focus on excellent grassland management, utilisation and soil fertility, Pat was awarded the Cattle (Non-Suckling) Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 award.