Farmer Profile: David Drumm
Athboy, Co. Meath
Teagasc Adviser: Ned Heffernan (RIP)
David currently has a cattle and tillage enterprise on his farm. He runs a herd of 70 suckler cows and brings all the progeny to beef. There are presently 90ha in grassland.
David previously bought continental weanlings in autumn and finished them as bulls at 20-22 months of age. Buying weanlings for this system meant tying up a lot of money in stock and like most farmers slaughtering bulls in spring 2014 he was hit hard with the low beef prices.
Last year he decided to buy Friesian calves and rear them. This reduced the purchasing costs of stock on the farm. He has years of experience of calf rearing as his family are originally dairy farmers. He reared 100 calves in spring 2014 and also bought more Friesian weanlings in autumn as opposed to buying continental weanlings. He also purchased some Hereford bull calves to see how they will compare to the Friesian bulls.
David’s plan in the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme will be to slaughter bulls at 18 months as there will be no facilities to house bulls for a second winter. Grassland management will be the key management tool for David in this programme. He has got very good housing facilities for weanlings and calf rearing and all his land is reseeded due to crop rotations.
Yearlings will go to grass for 100-120 days and then be finished in the sheds for 100 days. David has also some experience of Zero-grazing bulls and has not ruled out using this system on his own farm in the future. He also grows all his own grain and maize for use on the farm which will reduce feed costs over the winter.