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Ed Curtin farms in partnership with his mother in Meelin near Newmarket, Co. Cork.
He runs a suckling to weanling system consisting of 24 Autumn – calving suckler cows. The males are sold for export while the heifers, not retained for breeding, are sold for export or sold in show and sales in the local mart. Ed is using 100% A.I. to allow him to use the best genetics available.
He has a split farm with 34ha of heavy land around the farmyard. The soil type is approximately 60% heavy loam, with approx. 40% peat. This makes for difficult farming. Over the last number of years Ed has concentrated on improving the soil fertility on the clay ground while the peat soil is restricted on fertiliser limits as it is SPA land for the Hen Harrier Project. Ed also buys in 32 Dairy bred (AA/HE/FR) calves every year and brings these through to slaughter or else sells them near finished in the mart as forward stores at 650kgs.
The 11ha’s that Ed has rented 25Km away is drier and therefore he concentrates on this first for paddocks. Currently there are 22 main divisions on the farm with the ability to split fields with temporary fencing. Having plenty of well-placed water troughs is key to allowing Ed to further split paddocks.
Due to its heavy nature and the system of autumn calving the home farm is mostly used for two-cut silage and calving the cows in the autumn.
All farms building a relatively new, with excellent handling facilities and plenty of slurry storage.
His Teagasc Advisor is David Purcell.
No. of cows: 24
Cow replacement index: 119
Heifer replacement index: 117
Calves per cow per year: 0.89
My plan is to stay at the same cow numbers but to increase the efficiency on farm. Calves per cow per year and liveweight performance at grass are the main focus areas. I also want to look at soil fertility and protected urea. I am already using low emission slurry spreading and find it excellent as it give me more options on where and when I can apply my slurry. I will reseed more of the outfarm and include clover into the mix so I can reduce the amount of fertiliser I apply from a bagged source.