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Derrypatrick Herd

Current projects include: 1) Breeding cows to either high replacement index sires (LM, CH, SI, AA) or high terminal index sires (LM, CH, SI, AA) to characterise the effect of breeding system on carcass output. 2) Establishing clover in 50% of the farm during 2017, with the aim of identifying any potential benefit of incorporating clover into pasture of a suckler beef system

Purpose and Objectives

  • To explore new ideas and research different system comparisons using a herd of 100 suckler cows in a finishing system on 65 Ha at Teagasc, Grange.
  • To provide leadership and direction to the industry and look to the future for issues that will arise and how the national suckler herd can deal with them

Production System

  • Spring-calving, suckler calf-to-beef.
  • Rotational paddock grazing.
  • Stocking rate: 200 kg organic N/ha.
  • Fertiliser Nitrogen: ~200 kg/ha.
  • 2 silage harvests – first cut fed to progeny and second cut fed to cows.
  • Slaughter age: Heifers @ 20 months; Bulls @ 16 months or Steers @ 24 months.


The primary inputs and outputs to the system will be determined. Where appropriate, the main measurements will include:


  • Live weight and body condition score
  • Intake of grazed grass and conserved forage (& supplementary concentrate)
  • Fertility
  • Milk yield
  • Calving interval
  • Slaughter and carcass traits of progeny

Sward / forage:

  • Pre- & post-grazing compressed sward heights
  • Pre- & post-grazing herbage mass
  • Pre- & post-grazing herbage dry matter, chemical composition and nutritive value
  • Herbage growth
  • Farm cover
  • Grass silage yield
  • Grass silage nutritive value
  • Annual feed budget constitution (system component basis).


  • Financial performance/profitability of the breed types and systems

John Heslin Researcher and Liam Mc Weeney Research Technician have responsibility for the herd.

Future Research in Derrypatrick