John O’Connor, Kildalton College
Address: Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny
Farm Size: 59.46 ha for the suckler to beef, calf to beef and sheep enterprises.
Soil Type: Shallow brown earth and gleyed brown earth
Farm System: Spring calving suckler to beef system
Farm Plan: The main focus of the farm is to achieve a gross margin in excess of €1000 / ha by the end of the period 2012 to 2016. This is to be achieved through focusing on four main points. Firstly, maximising grass production through early turnout of stock, reseeding and nutrient management. Secondly by finishing bulls at less than 16 months which will allow us carry extra cows and increase the number of cows in the herd up to 60 at calving. Thirdly, we are focussing on increasing milk production in the herd. We purchased 12 Limousine x Friesian heifer in 2014 from which we can breed and keep second cross replacements from. Finally 2015-2016 will see a renewed emphasis on the herd health plan with regard to cost and effectiveness.
Bulls are slaughtered at under 16 months, heifers are slaughtered off grass at 18-20 months while the remaining cattle from the suckler herd are finished as steers at 24 months out of the shed. The majority of replacements are home bred Lim / Sim / Ch cross heifers by using high genetic merit A.I. sires with strong maternal traits.
This farm will give both farmers and students an opportunity to see an integrated beef production system with a calf to beef enterprise on the same unit for comparison purposes.