Location: Castledermot, Co. Kildare
Farm size: 72ha
Current System: 19-22 month heifer and 22-26 month steer beef
Local Teagasc Advisor: John Brophy
Peter farms 72ha of dry land on the Kildare/Carlow border. Up until 2008, he was running a suckling to beef and sheep enterprise on the farm, alongside a tillage enterprise. Over time, the farm has transitioned away from suckler and sheep production to a calf-to-beef enterprise.
The majority of the calves on the farm are Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Friesian – split between autumn and spring rearing. The Angus and Hereford cattle are marketed between 19 and 22 months, with the Friesian cattle slaughtered at 22-26 months of age.
An automatic feeding system was installed in the autumn of 2021 and this has greatly reduced the labour input required during calf rearing. The implementation of a vaccination programme has also resulted in improvements in early-life animal health.
Peter has installed an excellent paddock grazing system on the 44ha of grassland present in Castledermot and targets an early turnout of stock to maximise animal performance from grass. Soil fertility is excellent and a focus will now be placed on reseeding and the incorporation of clover.
The tillage area on the farm, stretching to 23.5ha, includes barley, maize and beet, with forages and grains from this enterprise used in TMR diets for the beef animals. Forage rape is also sown and used to out-winter weanlings on the farm.