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Eamon & Donnchadh McCarthy

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Eamonn & Donnchadh McCarthy Future Beef farmersEamon and his son Donnchadh are farming in Carrigeen, Glendine, Youghal, Co. Waterford. Both work part-time on the farm. In addition, Eamonn works as a relief milker and Donnchadh has a full-time off farm job.

They farm 45.47ha in 3 blocks including 4.6ha in barley and 11.7ha in Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The soil type is a free draining brown topsoil with a reddish hue in the majority of the farm. The parent material is sandstone. In contrast part of the farm has a poorly drained black soil with the SAC land consisting of mudlands with sand, silt and seashells. The main farm is 380ft above sea level, while the SAC ground is -2ft below sea level.

Eamon is stocked at 110kgs N/HA. Eamon and Donnchadh are running a suckling to beef enterprise split into Spring (60%) and Autumn (40%) calving consisting of 55 suckler cows. The males are finished as under 16 month bull beef, while the heifers, not retained for breeding, are finished at 18-20 months. Own heifers are kept for breeding. 100% AI is used on the farm with bulls selceted for high replacement figures for breeding initially and then a high terminal sire used for the rest.

Eamon and Donnchadh are measuring grass and using PBI for the last number of years. Temporary fencing and regularly taking soil samples to measure soil fertility is key to the McCarthy grassland management technique.

On the farm there is a 4 bay open fronted slatted shed consisting of 4 bay straw bedded lieback with crush area, open and roofed silage pit, one 3 span old loose straw bedded house and currently constructing of 3 span straw bedded house for finishing. There is also a Lofted grain store. There is good housing and finishing facilities on the farm. 

The farm has 4.6ha of Winter barley which is all used on farm for feeding and bedding.

Teagasc Advisor is Catriona Foley.

Breeding Performance

No. of cows: 46
Cow replacement index: 114
Heifer replacement index: 125
Calves per cow per year: 0.98

Eamon's Plan

The plan is to increase stocking rate to 160kg N/HA to match the current potential of grass grown on the farm. Better use of PBI and matching input to soil requirements is to be looked at. Some fields need to be subdivided with a better layout for water troughs for more efficient movement of animals.