Kildalton College is the largest Teagasc colleges in the country providing courses in Agriculture, Horticulture and Equine Studies. The Kildalton farm consists of 227 hectares of Teagasc owned and leased land consisting of mixed dairy, tillage and drystock enterprises as well are the horticulture and equine enterprises. These farm enterprises are a vital resource for student training, skills development and skills proficiency testing. The enterprises are also used as monitor farms providing performance and financial information for open days and farm walks.
Kildalton College consists of a 120 cow spring calving Friesian and Friesian cross herd which is in the top 3% for EBI nationally. The herd allows students to experience a sustainably focused milk production system. Compact calving and grassland management are the main drivers of farm profitability and Kildalton’s dairy unit is an excellent example of this. The excellent facilities in Kildalton allow students to learn on the most up to date equipment available.
The herd is made up of 50 continental cross suckler cows plus replacements. All progeny are reared to beef. The aim is to maximise liveweight gain off grass and minimise winter feed costs. Bulls are finished at under 16 months, heifers at between 18 and 20 monnths and steers at 24 months old. Heifers are finished at between 18-21 months off grass with meal. Top rated material AI bulls are used on 50% of the herd and a high terminal stock bull on the rest of the herd. The Kildalton College suckler herd has one of the highest Eurostar ratings in Ireland.
Dairy Calf to Beef
40 male animals are finished at 24 months of age. The system demonstrates key performance targets for a dairy beef system and is managed on a leader follower rotation system.
There are approximately 150 early/mid-season lambing ewes on the college farm. All lambs are finished off grass with some on centrate feeding in a mixed grazing system with the suckler herd. Replacement are home bred and lamb down as ewe lambs at 12 months of age. Suffolk and Belclare rams are used to produce these ewe lambs while Vendeen, Texel and Charollais rams are used as terminal sires. Flock breeding data is recorded through Sheep Ireland so as to improve breeding performance.
About 30ha of the farm is used for arable crop production at present. The crops are grown for research purposes, skills training and commercial purposes. The students on the Advanced Certificate in Machinery and Crops Management course are actively involved in the primary cultivation and establishment of these crops. The tillage crops grown in Kildalton include winter wheat, spring wheat, winter barley, spring barley, spring oats, winter oats, winter oilseed rape, beans and maize. Kildalton College also has a crop demonstration area which includes a large variety of crop varieties and different management techniques. Students can also use the crops centre to complete projects and research trials.
Kildalton College is a leader in machinery training. The college has a large fleet of modern farm machinery and equipment. This ensures that students get experience on a wide variety of farm technology used in modern agriculture. At Kildalton College we strive to teach students using the most up to date farm mechanisation techniques. Examples of the types of machinery at Kildalton are: reversible ploughs, one-pass seeding equipment, a fleet of tractors from 90 to 200 horsepower (with guidance system), a full range of baled silage making equipment, vacuum tankers with trailing shoe and dribble bar technology and fertilizer/pesticide application equipment. The college also has 7 workshops and a pesticide training unit dedicated to machinery and fabrication training and farm maintenance.