Location: Castlebellingham, Co. Louth
Farm size: 10ha
Current System: 19-22 month steers / selling store cattle at 12 months.
Local Teagasc Advisor: Aine Gaffney
Stephen is a young farmer who started off by leasing 10ha of land of his mother in 2017. With this he purchased 60 bull calves which consisted of Friesian, Aberdeen Angus, Herefore and Charolais crosses. Last year he bought 43 calves and intends on buying 50 calves this spring. The farm is highly stocked having 2.78LU/Ha however this is due to Stephen working on a small land base and trying to get as much out of it as possible. With this stocking rate the farm is also in derogation. In 2019 Stephen will be taking on a further 4ha of land and has plans to take on the whole farm in 2020 which will be a total of 32.5ha.
The block of land is fairly well set up as Stephen has implemented a paddock system and has installed water troughs through-out the fields. Some paddocks may have to be adjustment to accommodate cattle group size.
The first of the calves that were purchased in 2017 were slaughtered in late 2018 and early 2019 from 19-22 months old. As a means of generating cash flow in the second year of farming, Stephen was forced to sell number of yearling store cattle. The plan going forward is to bring all to slaughter and perhaps stick with Friesian and Aberdeen Angus calves. Like other farmers in the programme, Stephen has plans to invest in buildings on the farm as stock numbers will be increasing along with the area of land being farmed over the course of the programme. Stephen also works full time off farm as a joiner so it is important to have his farm set up in a way that will reduce the workload in the mornings and evenings.