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Meet the farmer - Prionnsias & Máire Creedon Future Beef/SignPost


Proinnsias farms with his wife Máire and sons Ciarán, Aodhán and Diarmuid in Clondrohid, Macroom, Co. Cork. They are farming 33.31Ha of variable land with a good bit of rough grazing ground. Here their advisor Anthony Dineen who is in the Teagasc Office Macroom gives some information on their farm

Stock

Stocking rate is 141kg N/Ha. 70-80 heifers are purchased annually at around 12-18 months and all of them are taken on to slaughter, finishing most at 22-24 months. More recently they have purchased approx. 30 dairy-cross calves aged 3-4 weeks and will take these through to slaughter, also at around 22-24 months of age. The boys Ciarán, Aodhán and Diarmuid have taken a  great interest in this enterprise and get involved in managing the young calves.

Grass 10 Discussion Group

The Creedon’s are part of the Macroom Grass 10 Discussion Group and have been one of the two host farms for them for a couple of years. All covers are recorded on PastureBase and they are measuring grass on the farm using a Plate Meter.  This year the cattle are running in batches of roughly 24 so as to move through paddocks faster and have the cattle going into fresh grass every 3 days.

Winter Fodder

A fodder budget for next winter was completed for the farm. Without allowing for feeding any ration, 734 bales of silage are needed for 50 weanlings and 55 store cattle for a 5.5 month winter.  He will have in the region of 180 bales left over and the rest will come from 1st and 2nd cut silage and grass surpluses. The Creedon’s aim for good quality silage of 70 % DMD or over as they are in a finishing system and the first cut is planned for the late May.

Soil Fertility

Soil samples were taken through the Signpost Programme on Creedon’s farm and a nutrient management plan completed. Over 45% of the farm is in a good soil fertility status, i.e. pH over 6.2 and a P and K index of 3 or 4.  Thirty one per cent of the farm has a pH of less than 6.2 and over 100 tonnes of lime will be required over the coming years to rectify this. Slurry samples were sent for lab analysis to accurately gauge the N,P,K value on the farm and the aim is to maximise the use of slurry to maintain the P and K status fot the farm. From now on all slurry will be spread by LESS to reduce emissions and retain more N for grass growth.

Proinnsias is planning to move the finishing heifers from a loose shed to a slatted shed that is now free as the store cattle have been let out to grass. He measured the width and length of the pens to help decide how many heifers would fit at 0.5 m of feeding space for optimum performance. Each pen can hold 9 heifers, allocated to pens according to weight.

Read more on Proinnsias & Máire's farm here

Find out more about Future Beef here