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Martin Downes


Location: Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath

Farm Size: 105 Ha

System: Suckler to bull finish and sheep


Martin is farming full time in Multyfarnham Co. Westmeath. The Land is relatively heavy, with a mix of good upland and some peaty soils. The land is divided in two blocks, 67ha on the home block and a further 38 ha out-farm two miles from the home place. Infrastructure is quiet goon on the home block with only a few extra paddocks to be installed but the out farm is in need of investment in paddocking.

Soil fertility is fair with no major lime requirement but work needed building P and K indexes. A good proportion of the home farm has been reseeded in recent years so the major focus is improving the quality of the sward on the out farm.

 The farm was hit with an outbreak of TB over the last number of years so major focus on rebuilding the herd which has a high age profile.  The plan is to rebuild cow numbers to 120 and continue finishing all progeny, males as bulls U-20 months and heifers at 24 months. Also to further increase output it is planned to purchase dry cows in the autumn and finish them off grass in early summer.

Mandatory Challenges

  • Two tonne grass challenge - All farms to aim to increase by 2 Tonne/DM/ha
  • Farm finance challenge - Gross margin target €1250/ha on average
  • Farm safety challenge - Farms to introduce 2 positive changes annually

Optional Challenges

  • Breeding challenge - Increase average replacement value of herd by €20 over course of programme and meet all herd fertility targets
  • Herd health challenge - Aim to reduce antibiotic input by 20% and develop herd health plan
  • Soil fertility challenge - Aim for 70% of farm at index 3 P&K. Ph - aim for 6.1 (5.7 on peat soils)
  • Mixed grazing challenge - Establish blueprint for successful mixed grazing on farms

Read more on the challenges





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