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Contract Heifer Rearing – Farm Walks 2022

Contract Heifer Rearing – Farm Walks 2022

In June 2022, Teagasc will run two Contract Heifer Rearing Farm Walks. The first walk takes place on Tuesday 21st June 2022 at 11am on the farm of Laurence McEvoy, Co. Kilkenny while the second walk is on Thursday 30th June 2022 at 7pm on Kieran & Caroline Henry's farm in Co. Sligo. Get details here

Gordon Peppard, Teagasc Collaborative Farming Specialist, provides more infromation on what you can expect on attending one of the Contract Heifer Rearing Farm Walks.

These walks will take place on the farms of:

Laurence McEvoy, Parksgrove, Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny. R95 PK10

  • On Tuesday 21st June 2022 at 11am 

Kieran & Caroline Henry, Toberscarden, Tubbercurry, Co.Sligo. F91 E7E8

  • On Thursday 30th June 2022 at 7pm

Teagasc advisors, Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Veterinary staff along with the host farmers will address the audience on the day.

Topics for discussion

The main topics to be addressed on the day will include the following,

  • Why consider Contract Heifer Rearing?
  • Advantages for the dairy farmer and the contract rearer.
  • The requirements for a successful agreement.
  • Animal health issues and other key concerns
  • What are the costs?

What is Contract Heifer Rearing?

Contract heifer rearing is a written agreement whereby the dairy farmer supplies a heifer to be reared at an agreed fee per head per day.

In return the contract rearer undertakes to care for and return an in calf heifer in good condition. The replacement heifers may be moved from and returned to the owner’s farm at different ages depending on the individual agreements made. 

Contract heifer rearing has increased in popularity over the past number of years due to a number of different factors: 

  1. Removal of milk quotas in 2015, has allowed dairy farmers the opportunity to expand and milk more cows, generating more milk output from the milking platform. 
  2. Continuous improvements in herd fertility and six week calving rates, have contributed to high workloads in springtime and the demand for specialised labour.
  3. The availability of land to purchase or lease for the rearing of replacement heifers is very often difficult to source and in many cases the costs can be prohibitive.
  4. With the volatility and price uncertainty of the beef markets, many drystock farmers are looking for alternative income sources.

In Summary

For Contract Heifer Rearing to be a success it must be a WIN: WIN situation for all parties involved.

A level of trust, honesty and flexibility must exist between both parties. Events may change and things will go wrong, so good communication and a give and take attitude are required. It is important to have a written agreement so that all parties are in no doubt as to their responsibilities. 

Further information on all the aspects of the management of the replacement heifer and what it takes to form a good contract heifer rearing agreement will be discussed in depth at both farm walks and we look forward to answering your questions on it then.

Read more about Contract Heifer Rearing from Teagasc