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Johnstown Castle Research Farm, Co. Wexford


The Johnstown Castle research unit is located 5km from Wexford Town in the South East of Ireland. It forms part of the Johnstown Castle Estate, where the main centre for the Teagasc Environment programme is located. Also on the estate is the EPA headquarters, Department of Agriculture offices along with a substantial dairy winter milk research farm.

The farm is split between two units. An underpass facilitates the movement of cattle between the two units, as the main road between Piercestown and Murntown divides the farm.

Farm Manager: Rioch Fox 
Research Technologist: Ellen Fitzpatrick 

Soil type

The distribution pattern of the soils within Johnstown Castle farm is complex and varied. The soils range from reasonably free draining Brown Earths to gley soils and other such soils with moderate or poor drainage capacity.

Low-input, high-output grass-based dairy-beef heifer systems

At the Beef Conference in November 2023 Dr Ellen Fitzpatrick, Research Technologist at the dairy calf to beef farm gave an update on research results from the farm. 


  • Dairy-beef heifers consuming herbage from perennial ryegrass (PRG)-only swards, PRG + Clover (CLOVER) swards, and multispecies swards (MSS) achieved carcass weights of 243, 250 and 249 kg, at 19.6, 19.2, and 19.2 months of age, respectively.
  • Similar herbage production was achieved for all three pasture types, despite a 75 kg/hectare reduction in annual chemical nitrogen (N) application to the CLOVER and MSS treatments.
  • Incorporating legumes and herbs into pasture reduces the requirement for chemical fertiliser nitrogen and concentrate supplementation in grassbased dairy-beef heifer systems.

Download the full paper: Low-input high-output grass-based dairy-beef heifer systems (pdf)

Download the presentation: Ellen Fitzpatrick - low input high output dairy beef heifer systems - Presentation (pdf)