Future Beef Farmers
John Barry, Newtown, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
John farms in Newtown, Nenagh, Tipperary with his father Jim. He works part-time off farm. He farms 72.3Ha in 3 blocks. The soil is a generally dry free draining mineral soils. 2020 farm organic stocking rate 165kgs N/Ha. 80 cow suckling to store system consisting of 47 spring & 33 autumn calving suckler cows. Males are sold as 18mth store beef. Heifers not retained for breeding are also sold as stores. The plan is to stay at the same cow numbers but to increase the breeding/breeding efficiency on farm. He is part of the REAP pilot environmental scheme. Local advisor Michael Daly.
Michael & Niall Biggins, Ballynalty, Headford, Co. Mayo
Michael & his wife Bridie farm in partnership with their son Niall in Headford, Co Mayo. Michael works full-time on the farm while Niall works part-time. They farm 45ha in 3 blocks. There are predominately dry mineral soils, with a significant area of peaty heavier soils. The farm is stocked at 145kgs NPH. They run a suckling to weanling/yearling system with 65 mainly spring calving suckler cows. The best calves are sold as weanlings in the autumn, the remaining bulls & heifers are sold as yearlings. They are in an Agri-Environmental scheme & the GLAS scheme. Local advisor Alan Nolan.
Trevor Boland, Bunnafedia, Drumard, Co. Sligo
Trevor farms farms 48Ha; 23Ha owned, 2Ha leased. He farms in partnership with his father Joseph. He is part-time farming and working off farm as an accountant with IFAC. 30Ha around the farmyard is heavy clay soil which is susceptible to poaching, the leased outblock is a clay loam and is drier by nature. Trevor is stocked at 155kg N/Ha. His main enterprise is a 45 cow Autumn calving suckler herd with an 86% 6-week calving rate in July & August. Local Advisor Tom Coll.
Wesley Browne, Leagh, Dunraymond, Co. Monaghan
Wesley farms full-time in Leagh, Dunraymond, Co. Monaghan. He farms 65.7Ha in 4 blocks. The soil is heavy drumlin-type soil. He is stocked at 167kgs N/Ha. He runs a spring calving suckler herd of 48. All male progeny are finished as less than 16 mth bulls & the suitable high index females are retained or sold to repeat customers for breeding, with all other heifers slaughtered at 23-24mth. The plan is to maintain his breeding performance & continue to build on his breeding values. He has also invested in building soil fertility & pH over the last number of years. Local advisor Conal Murnaghan.
Proinnsias Creedon, Clondrohid, Macroom, Co. Cork
Proinnsias farms with wife Máire & sons Ciarán, Aodhán & Diarmuid in Macroom, Co. Cork. He farms 33.31ha of variable land. There is a lot of heavy soil in the farm with some reclaimed over the past few years. Stocking rate is 141kg N/Ha. 70-80 heifers are purchased annually at around 12-18mth & all of them are taken on to slaughter, finishing most at 22-24mth. There are 42 paddocks on the farm with usually 3-4 groups grazing. They are currently stocked at 2.47LU/Ha. The plan for the future is to improve the farm through growing and utilising better quality grass. Local advisor Anthony Dineen.
Ruairi Cummins, Rossenarra Demense, Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny
Ruairi farms with his wife Helen, children Ciara, Eoin & Laura. He farms 35ha of owned land split into 2 main blocks. He also works off-farm with a local suckler farmer. Soil type on the home block is a dry mineral soil. He is stocked at 156kgs N/Ha. He runs a 45 cow spring calving suckler system with bull calves brought through to slaughter at under 16mth & heifers sold as stores at 16-18 mth. Some of the lighter bull calves are castrated & sold as stores at 16-18mth. Ruairi is using two Charolais stock bulls with a small amount of AI used on the farm. Local Advisor is Enda McLoughlin.
Ed Curtin, Meelin, Newmarket, Co. Cork
Ed Curtin farms in partnership with his mother Breda near Meelin, Newmarket, Co. Cork.They are farming 45ha in total with 34ha at home and a further 11ha leased 25km away. The land at home moves from heavy loam into peat soils, while the leased farm is drier. Ed is a participant of the Hen harrier scheme on the home farm. The Curtin’s have 24 autumn calving suckler cows and use 100% A.I. All progeny except breeding heifers are sold for export at approx. 12 months. To increase stocking rate, Ed buys in 32 spring born dairy bred calves and brings them through to finish.
John Dunne, Tinnacrannagh House, Portarlington, Co. Offaly
John farms full-time with weekend help from his son James. He farms 106Ha; 50% of the land soil is light clay nature, 40% is heavy clay and the remaining 10% is low lying land. He is stocked at 181 Kg/N Ha, exporting slurry to a neighbouring tillage farmer as per Nitrates Regulations. He runs a sucker to beef system with 88 Spring–calving suckler cows. He aiming to rebuild his Suckler herd to 100. 100 calves purchased per year - (HE/AA) crosses. John trys to buy local and minimise the number of farms he buys from for health reasons. Local advisor is Bernard Doorley.
Aonghusa Fahy, Tullira, Ardrahan, Co. Galway
Aonghusa farms part-time with wife Olivia & daughter Kayla. He works full-time off farm as a secondary school teacher. He farms 58 hectares, mostly free draining soil. He is stocked at 72 Kg/N ha, but the plans are to increase stock numbers. Aonghusa runs 30 spring calving suckler cows, with calving starting in February. Exceptional calves may be sold as weanlings but all other progeny are brought through to slaughter. Heifers are slaughtered off grass at 20-22mth at ~300kg carcass weight, Steers are slaughtered off grass at 28-30mth at ~420kg carcass weight. Local advisor Micheál Kelly.
Ken Gill, Ballydermot House, Clonbullogue, Co. Offaly
Ken farms 95 hectares full-time. Soil type on the farm is grey brown podzolic & texture is silty clay loam. His farm has a WFSR of 110kgs/Ha & a GSR of 133kgs/Ha. A full symbol organic producer, Ken operates a suckler to beef system with 70 Autumn calving suckler cows. All progeny are brought to beef with the aim to slaughter at 24mth. Plans for the future are to improve the quality of the cows using 100% AI, to improve grass swards by both reseeding as part of the rotation & by using an Einbock grass harrow to stitch in grass/clover mixtures on the old pastures. Local Advisor Paul Gibney.
Olivia Hynes, Jamestown, Four Roads, Co. Roscommon
Olivia farms 74.8Ha full-time, with help from her parents. 90% of the farm is free draining brown acid soil, with moderate to good fertility. She is stocked at 120kg/Ha, but hopes to increase this. She runs an intensive mixed grazing enterprise, with a cow herd of just over 60 cows, selling the weanlings (bull & heifer) at export sales in Nov-Jan annually. 10-12 heifers are kept for replacements per year. A ewe flock complements the suckler enterprise. The plan is to stay at the same cow numbers but to increase the efficiency on the bovine side of the farm. Local Advisor is Brian Daly.
Cathal Irwin, Westport Road, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Cathal is farming with his family in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He works full-time off-farm. He farms 27.7ha. There is heavy clay/peaty type soils on the farm. Cathal is stocked at 77kgs N/HA. He runs a suckler to store beef system selling animals at 18 months. Cows are Simmental and Limousine cross and a Charlaois stock bull is used. AI is used on some heifers and some breeding heifers are bought in for breeding. His plan for the future is to stay at the same cow numbers but possibly look at finishing his own progeny - bulls at under 16 months and heifers at 22 months. Local Advisor is Liam Quinn.
Shane Keaveney, Granlahan, Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon
Shane farms full-time with help from his wife Grainne & their 3 children. He farms 27.46Ha in 3 blocks. There is a mixture of clay & peat soils. He is stocked at 147 Kg/N ha. This has being increasing over the last number of years. There are around 35 suckler cows on the farm. Male calves are finished as under 16mth bull beef while heifers are sold as yearlings or stores. The cows run with a bull are this has changed to a charolie bull this year. The cow type is mainly LM/SA crosses. The plan is to stay around 35 suckler cows and continue the same system. Local Advisor is Charlie Devaney.
William Kingston, Inchingerig, Drimoleague, Co. Cork
William farms in Drimoleague, Co. Cork with his wife Diana & son Mark. He works full-time off farm. He farms 28.13ha in 2 blocks. The soil is a mineral soil. The current stocking rate on the farm is 162kgs N/HA. He runs a suckling to beef system with 33 continental cross bred cows, 72% of the herd is autumn calving & 28% are spring calving. Males are finished as under 16mth bull beef, while the heifers not retained for breeding are finished at 22mth. The plan is to go to all autumn calving, to increase cow numbers close to 40 & improve efficiency of every animal. Local Advisor is Anna Sexton.
Eamonn & Donnchadh McCarthy, Carrigeen, Glendine, Co. Waterford
Eamonn farms in Carrigeen, Glendine, Co. Waterford with his son Donnchadh. They both farm part-time. They farm 45.47ha in 3 blocks. The soil type is a free draining brown topsoil with a redish hue in the majority of the farm. The farm is stocked at 110kgs N/HA, they plan to increase stocking rate to 160kg N/HA. They are running a suckling to beef enterprise split into spring & autumn calving consisting of 46 suckler cows. The males are finished as under 16mth bull beef, while the heifers not retained for breeding are finished at 18-20mth. Local advisor is Catriona Foley.
Michael McGuigan, Clongiffen, Longwood, Co. Meath
Michael farms with his wife Aisling & daughter Penny. He farms part-time, off-farm he manages his own investment company. The 23.5ha farm is a mixture of a sandy gravel & clay soil. Stocking rate is 1.9 LU/Ha with plans to go to 2.1LU/HA. Michael runs a suckling to weanling system consisting of all Autumn calvers & he currently has 34 cows. Males are sold as weanlings while heifers, if not retained for breeding, are sold for export or sold in show & sales in the local mart. The plan is to increase cow numbers & continue to increase efficiencies on the farm. Local Advisor is David Argue.
Ger McSweeney, Tooreenbawn, Milstreet, Co. Cork
Ger farms full-time with his wife Karen & daughter Ella. He farms 25.31ha adjusted (38.6ha non-adjusted) in 4 blocks. Soil on the farm is a heavy mineral soil. He is stocked at 168kg N/ha on adjusted land area & 110kg N/ha on total land area. He runs a suckling to beef system consisting of 35 spring-calving suckler cows. Males are finished as under 16mth bull beef, while heifers not retained for breeding, are finished at 23-24mth. Ger's plan is to get to 40 suckler cows and to increase the efficiency on farm. Local Advisor is Aisling Molloy.
Oliver O'Hara, Gortnaskeagh, Leckaun, Co. Leitrim
Oliver farms with help from his children Shane & Karen. He farms full-time as well as running a contracting business. The farm is 15Ha of owned land plus 32Ha of mountain commonage. Soil is heavy clay with some peaty areas adjacent to the mountain. Stocking rate is 104kgs/Ha (including sheep & excluding commonage). He runs a primarily spring-calving system with 27 sucklers, some of which are pedigree Limousin. Strong males are finished as young bulls with the remainder sold as weanlings. The plan is to stay at the same cow numbers but to increase farm efficiency. Local Advisor is Cian Condon.
Kay O'Sullivan, Garrynagearagh, Mourneabbey, Mallow, Co. Cork
Kay farmed 34.83ha organic in 2021 with additional organic lands coming in to system in 2022. There is also 11.16ha forestry. Good Loamy type soil on farm. She runs a suckler to store/beef system along with a lowland ewe system. Farm stocked at 110kgs/Ha in 2020 (includes ewes). There are currently 25 cows, 11 heifers & 75 ewes. Selected paddocks are resseded each year. For the past 2 years herbs & chicory are also included in the mix. All farms building a relatively new. Excellent handling facilities. The plan is to improve grass production, animal performance & biodiversity.
Sam Pierce, Newtown, Bannow, Co. Wexford
Sam farms full-time and is in a partnership with his father Nigel & mother Mary. They farm 68ha, 10 of which is in Winter/Spring Barley to provide feeding & straw for his stock. Land type on the farm is mixture of Rathangan & Clonroche series soil. Sam's overall farm stocking rate is 150 kg/N/Ha. Main enterprise on the farm is a 62 spring calving suckler herd. All male progeny are finished as bulls under 16mth. Any heifers not kept for replacements are finished between 20-22mth. The plan is to stay at the same cow numbers but to increase the efficiency on farm. Local Advisor Jack Murphy.
John Pringle, Kilacloran, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow
John farms full-time in Aughrim, Co. Wicklow with his wife Linda, daughter Lucy, sons William & Scott. John is farming 58.42ha in 1 block. The soil type is part of the Clonroche series which is made up of a shallow layer of topsoil over shale. He is stocked at 130 kgs N/HA. He runs a suckler calf-to-beef system with 45 spring calving suckler cows. The males are finished as under 16mth bull beef, while the heifers not retained for breeding are finished at 23-24mth. The plan is to increase efficiency whereby increasing output of meat sold at lower production costs. Local advisor Peter Lawrence.
James Skehan, Ballynevin, O’Briensbridge, Co. Clare
James farms in Ballynevin, O’Briensbridge, Co. Clare with his wife Joanne & father Batt. He has a full-time job off farm. They farm 34ha in 3 blocks. Land type varies from free draining loam valleys to heavy clay soil to hills. He is stocked at currently at 93 Kg/N ha. He has 24 spring calving suckler cows & breeding performance of 1.03 calves/cow per year & 356 day calving interval. Currently he sells all the weanlings, and now plans to keep these, house them over winter & graze for the next year. They will be sold off graze around September. Local advisor Thomas Gleeson.
Teagasc and Dawn Meats, supported by McDonald's and The Irish Farmers Journal have established a stand alone suckler herd at Athenry, Co Galway to demonstrate best practice in sustainable suckler beef production. The herd, which is known as the Newford Herd, is run on a fully commercial basis. It demonstrates the potential of a moderately large suckler beef farm to generate a viable family farm income when operated to the highest level of technical efficiency and best practice.
Kepak farm in Dunboyne has a land base of 320ha & a yard capacity to feed 1,500 cattle. The farm operates a Store to Beef enterprise and typically finishes 3,500 cattle per annum, fed home grown crops of barley, wheat & maize. The farm produces cattle to meet market requirements, while sustaining the economic and social viability of the farm and making the most efficient use of all resources. There is considerable focus and protocols on areas such as Herd Health and Welfare, Herd Management, Nutrition, Meeting market spec, Crop Management, Grassland Management, Carbon Footprint & Labour