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John and Joe Healy


Location: Athboy, Co. Meath

Farm size: 44 Ha

System: Suckler to bull finish


Joe is farming part time with the help of his father John. The farm was originally a dairy operation so there are good paddocks and roadways in place. The land is heavy in nature with some areas requiring drainage. Soil fertility is relatively good with some P and K issues to be addressed.

The farm calves down 70 cows from April-June. The plan is to improve grassland management and increase cow numbers from 70 to 85 and to continue producing U-16 month bull beef and slaughtering heifers at 18-20 months. Joe is also looking at the option of purchasing 30 short stay bulls and finishing them with his own.

Mandatory Challenges

  • Two tonne grass challenge - All farms to aim to increase by 2 Tonne/DM/ha
  • Farm finance challenge - Gross margin target €1250/ha on average 
  • Farm safety challenge - Farms to introduce 2 positive changes annually

Optional Challenges

  • Breeding challenge - Increase average replacement value of herd by €20 over course of programme and meet all herd fertility targets
  • Soil fertility challenge - Aim for 70% of farm at index 3 P&K. Ph - aim for 6.1 (5.7 on peat soils)
  • Meet the markets challenge - All farms quality assured. All stock to meet processor specifications.

Read more on the challenges


IFJ articles

Teagasc Newsletters

Farm update May 2017