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James Shekan

Signpost Beef Farmer

James is farming with his wife Joanne and two small children in Ballynevin, O'Briensbridge, Co. Clare. James’s father, Batt, also lends a hand on the farm. James has 24 spring calving suckler cows. Traditionally the calves were sold as weanlings, however, James plans to bring all his cattle to 18months and sell off grass before the second winter. To increase stocking rate and manage grass more effectively, James plans to buy in and summer graze heifers. This will increase the stocking rate, without the need to increase housing facilities. 

Challenges: Their 34 ha farm is split over three townlands. The land type varies from free draining loam valleys to heavy Clay soil hillside farming. James and Joanne work full time off-farm and have two young children, going the full commercial farming route would not fit this model of part-time farming on a fragmented land base.

Teagasc Advisor: Thomas Gleeson Teagasc, Ennis

Signpost Farm Measures Undertaken

Animal Health

James has a robust vaccination programme in place for scour and BRD. This has reduced the amount of antibiotic usage on farm.

Extended Grazing 

James has improved the infrastructure on the farm to enable easier movement and handling of stock – with more roadways and paddocks However, James has mixed land types and he want to ensure that he is also doing what is best for water quality. He does not want to cause poaching and sediment run off while he is trying to extend the grazing season.


Clover is currently being incorporated into all reseeds. A clover safe spray is being used and the new reseeds are being managed to maintain clover in the swards.