Signpost Programme Farmer: Tomás O'Leary
Meet Tomás O'Leary, one of our Signpost Programme Farmers. Tomás farms with his wife Eileen and children Míchéal, Yvonne and Sinead in Killarney, Co. Kerry. Tomás operates a sheep enterprise alongside a contract rearing dairy heifer enterprise.
Challenges: The farm is divided in 2 sections either side of Killarney and approximately 27km apart.
The main grazing block is good dry land while the land at the home farm is heavy, difficult land which is primarily used for silage production and grazing ewes in the autumn.
Signpost Farm Measures Undertaken
With the exception of standard urea used for the first application this spring, 18:6:12 on the silage group and some 10:10:20 used for reseeding all chemical nitrogen this year is being spread as protected urea.
FECPAK analysis is being used throughout the year to ensure lambs are only being dosed with an anthelmintic product when required. A drench efficacy test is also being carried this year to investigate if Ivermectin based anthelmintics are working correctly for lambs on Tomás’s farm.
All cattle slurry has been spread with a trailing shoe this year. Half the farm was covered at a rate of 1500 gallons of undiluted cattle slurry and four hectares (10 acres) which had been identified as being Index 2 for potassium had 3,000 gallons per acre applied. The last of the slurry was spread on the paddocks from which surplus bales were harvested.
Measuring and managing grass using PBI for the last number of years. Follows sheep autumn closing plan to close farm in rotation from late October and build grass covers to allow ewes and lambs out shortly after lambing in early March.
One of the poorer performing paddocks has been taken out and reseeded this year in ideal conditions in early May with a grass/clover mix containing 12.5kg grass (Ballintroy) seed and 2kg (Coolfin) white clover seed per acre.
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