Farmer Profile: Ben Sweeney
Enfield, Co. Meath
Teagasc Adviser: Gordon Peppard
Ben is farming 110ha of grassland and also grows maize and barley on his farm. He currently rears approximately 140 calves each year. He buys Friesians bull calves and Angus heifers and everything is brought to slaughter. The bulls are finished between 18 to 20 months and the heifers are finished at 20 months. Ben has also purchased some autumn born calves to rear as this reduces the workload in the spring. He has a Volac computerised calf feeder on the farm and will make more efficient use of it by rearing calves in the autumn time. The feeder will feed around 60 calves in a group, so each year he will rear 120 spring born calves with the feeder and 20 on the bucket system.
Ben has 20 sucklers on the farm running with a bull and these progeny are also brought to finish on the farm. There are a lot of different groups of stock on this farm and to his credit the farm is highly stocked. One of Ben’s main objectives in the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme will be to put on as many kilos of live weight as possible from grass. This will reduce feed costs in the different systems and will happen through grass measurement, better utilisation and also by putting in place a paddock system. Ben grows maize and barley on the farm to feed to finishing stock. All these enterprises will be analysed when completing the farm plan to see how to simplify all the systems and to make the farm more profitable.