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Meet Ruairi Cummins - Future Beef farmer, Co. Kilkenny


Ruairi is farming on 35Ha of owned land split into two main blocks in Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny. He also works off farm with a local suckler farmer. The whole farm is paddocked. Find out the changes to soil fertility that Ruairi is making on his farm this summer and how he is managing animal health

Ruairi runs a 45 cow spring calving suckler system with bull calves brought through to slaughter at under 16 months and heifers sold as stores at 16-18 months. Some of the lighter bull calves are castrated and sold as stores at 16-18 months also. Ruairi is using two Charolais stock bulls with a small amount of A.I. used on the farm. 

The whole farm is divided and managed in a paddock system both using both permanent and temporary fences. Good grassland management is one of the farms current strengths. Ruairi is currently grass measuring but this is an area that will be developed. There is good housing on the farm. The farm buildings are a combination of slats and dry bedded sheds.

His Teagasc Advisor is Enda McLoughlin.

Breeding Performance

No. of cows: 45
Cow replacement index: 120
Heifer replacement index: 129
Calves per cow per year: 0.96

Ruairi's Plan

His plan is to possibly increase numbers whilst also improving farm efficiency. Breeding and grassland management are good on the farm currently. Improving soil fertility is an area identified for improvement as part of the programme. 

Animal Health

Ruairi has vaccinated all his calves against clostridial diseases (mainly Blackleg) with a two shot vaccination programme.

He took a faecal egg sample from the weanlings to determine if they needed dosing, although he hadn’t heard any coughing or noticed any scouring among them yet. However when the results came back they showed a positive result for lungworm and 50 eggs per gram of strongyles (stomach worms) which was low. Ruairi will be dosing them with an ivermectin pour on which he has in stock which will treat the calves for both lung worms and stomach worms. 


Grassland

Ruairi cut hay on 7th of July on the out farm in Ballyhall. The average yield was 4.87 t DM/ha (just under 10 bales per acre) which he was very happy with. He also acquired an extra bales of silage from buying a standing crop nearby.

Protected urea (38%, €980/t) was spread at a rate of 15 units per acre on the home farm, with 18-6-12 spread on the out farm to help combat the decline in grass growth and to help build the soil indexes.

Grass was measured on the home farm on 8th July and the grass wedge showed a farm cover of 763 kg DM/ha, with a demand of 33 kg DM/ha and a growth rate of 27 kg DM/ha and 23 days ahead.

The out farm had a farm cover of 642 kg DM/ha with a demand of 25 kg DM/ha, a growth rate of 33 kg DM/ha and 26 days ahead. 


Soil Fertility

Ruairi has spread 50t of lime on the home block of ground where it was required to help build his soil pH. He decided to spread lime on the out farm next year to ensure that it is all covered. As Ruairi has no plans to make second cut silage he is reducing the impact of lime on silage preservation as it can increase the pH of the silage when ensiled, whereas good preservation requires a reduction in pH. That is why it is recommended to spread lime 3-6 months BEFORE cutting silage. Spreading earlier in the year instead of waiting until the autumn also means that the land is fit to travel, whereas delaying until the autumn may mean that it is not spread at all in adverse weather conditions.

In addition to this he has spread 18-6-12 on the out farm to help build grass covers and improve the soil indexes.

Lern more about the Future Beef Demonstration Farms | Find out more about the Future Beef Programme here: Future Beef Programme