Location: Castlemartyr, Co. Cork
Farm size: 28ha of grassland and 36ha of tillage
Current System: Calf to bull beef and calf to store
Local Teagasc Advisor: Ruth Fennell
Located just outside Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, Pat Collins operates a mixed farming system, consisting of 28ha of leased grassland and a tillage enterprise.
Having first ventured into calf rearing in 2017, with the purchase of 50 calves, numbers have grown considerably since. In the spring of 2018, 168 calves were reared. All of the calves are sourced from local dairy herds and this reduces the calves’ exposure to disease. It’s also an opportunity for Pat to witness the cows in the herd, the farm management practices and the emphasis placed on health and hygiene by the dairy farmer. Initially, Pat operated a calf to store system, with animals sold to meet rising demand from grass buyers.
The focus has since transitioned to a mainly bull beef system, with 100 of last spring’s Holstein Friesian bull calves targeted for finishing this summer at 18-22 months.
Angus steers and heifers account for the remainder of 2018’s calves and these will be sold as stores at targeted times during the year to aid cash flow.
Over recent years, Pat has invested heavily in grassland. As some of the ground was previously under tillage, a large degree of reseeding has been undertaken with high-yielding perennial ryegrass varieties. The grassland area has also been serviced by a paddock and water system, bringing the total number of grazing paddocks on the farm to 17. In addition, given the farm’s location, an early turnout is targeted.