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Michael farms along with his wife Aisling and daughter Penny at Blackwater Farm, Clongiffen, Longwood, Co. Meath. He farms part-time and manages his own investment company off-farm.
Michael farms 23.5 hectares all around the farmyard. The farm is a mixture of sandy gravel and clay soil. Over the last number of years Michael has concentrated on imporving the soil fertlity and improved the drainage on the farm.
The farm is stocked at 1.9 LU/Ha with plans to go to 2.1LU/HA. He was stocked at 140 Kg/N ha in 2020.
Michael runs a suckling to weanling system consisting of all Autumn calvers. The males are sold as weanlings while the heifers, if not retained for breeding, are sold for export or sold in show and sales in the local mart. He is using 100% A.I. to allow him to use the best genetics available.
The farm has been extremely well paddocked in the last couple of years with 25 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 paddocks to be split. Calves creep grase ahead of the cows from a few weeks of age. He is not measuring grass presently, but willing to learn. He is good at grassland management as it is.
All farm buildings are relatively new. Excellent handling facilities and plenty of slurry storage. Plans in the future to build another slatted shed and maybe a loose dry bed shed with a dung pit.
His Teagasc Advisor is David Argue.
No. of cows: 34
Cow replacement index: €83
Heifer replacement index: €132
Calves per cow per year: 0.94
His plan is to increase cow numbers and continue to increase efficiencies on the farm (calving interval, calves/cow/year, kg output sold / ha). Soil fertility is another key area Michael wants to improve on to allow for growing more grass with less fertiliser usage. Almost 70% of the farm is reseeded and he hopes to have 90% reseeded by next May.