Address: Castlefin, Co. Donegal
Teagasc Advisor: Gary Fisher
Farm Size: 48ha
Farming system: The farm is situated in one location separated by a public road. The background breeding in the herd is Hereford cross cows with a good source of milk. It consists of Hereford cross, Limousin cross and Simmental cross cows that calve from December. In recent years, maternal Limousin and Simmental AI sires were used on the best quality cows to breed suitable replacement stock. The remainder of the cows are bred to a high-quality terminal Charolais sire. The male calves are sold as bull weanlings at 10 months, at an average weight of 400kg. Heifers that are not retained as replacements are sold between 15 and 16 months of age, at an average weight of 450kg, in May/June. A flock of 140 Suffolk and Texel cross ewes lamb from mid-March.
Farm Plan: The sheep enterprise on the farm combines favourably with the suckler system as it increases farm output and lifts stocking rate at grass, which in turn aids the improvement in grass utilisation and contributes to an increase in the farm’s gross margin. Improvements carried out on the farm include implementing changes that improve grassland management – which involves measuring grass on a weekly basis, to using more paddocks and moving stock more regularly. The focus of the farm plan is to implement a higher stocking rate. The volume of grass grown and utilised will be significant in carrying a higher stocking rate helping to keep costs in check and increase gross margin.