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James Skehan

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James Skehan Future Beef FarmerJames farms part-time in Ballynevin, O’Briensbridge, Co. Clare, with his wife Joanne and his father Batt lends a hand. He works full-time off farm.

James has 24 spring calving suckler cows with an excellent breeding perfomance of 1.03 calves per cow per year and 356 day calving interval. While he was selling all the weanlings in the future the plan is to keep the weanlings, house them for one winter and then graze for the following year. James originally planned to sell them off grass around September but is now moving towards a finishing system. 

A considerable amount of money has been spent on infrastructure, with new paddocks, water troughts and roadways gone in. This is to facilitate the part-time nature of the farm, but also to increase efficiency. James can move cattle on his own. The improvement will also allow him to get better average daily gains off grass, thus increasing profitability.

He is stocked currently at 93 Kg/N ha.  

The farm is 34ha which is divided into three blocks. One block is mainly silage and the rest are silage and grazing. The land type varies from free draining loam valleys to heavy clay soil along to hillside farming.

All farms building a relatively new, with excellent handling facilities and plenty of slurry storage.

His Teagasc Advisor is Thomas Gleeson.

Breeding Performance

No. of cows: 24
Cow replacement index: 107
Heifer replacement index: 131
Calves per cow per year: 1.03

James’ Plan

The plan is to maintain the same cow numbers, keep the weanlings to forward stores instead of selling them and to summer graze bullocks. James wants to grow more grass with less fertiliser, to do this he is working on improving his grassland management skills, improving the soil fertility, making better use of slurry and using a trailing shoe - where possible.