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Teagasc Green Acres Farm Walk - Carlow

Event Time 12pm
Venue Farm of Shane Cranny, Ullard, Myshall, Co. Carlow. Eircode: R21 X224
The second phase of the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme was launched in April 2019. The primary aim of the programme is to achieve a net margin of €500/ha (excluding premia). The main areas being focused on are: Calf Rearing, Animal Health, Grassland Management, Soil Fertility, Financial Management and Farm Planning.

Shane Cranny operates a dairy calf to beef system, alongside a suckler enterprise, on 31.5ha of free-draining grassland in Myshall, Co. Carlow.

After initially purchasing spring-born calves, he switched to autumn-born calves in 2018 and this management decision has continued; approximately 60 Friesian bull calves were purchased in October/November 2019.

Targeting slaughter off grass as steers at 22-24 months of age, excellent grassland management is required. Three mobs of cattle graze rotationally on the platform – the autumn-born calves, yearlings and the suckler cows and calves. Weaned calves and store cattle are turned out as early as possible to maximise ‘cheap’ weight grain, while suckler cows are turned out post-calving.

An early turnout was achieved on the farm in 2019 and this had a positive impact on livestock daily gains; autumn 2018-born steers gained 0.85kg/day since arrival on-farm.

Previously the farm operated a calf-to-store system, with animals sold off grass prior to housing. Last year, the introduction of concentrates at grass facilitated the slaughtering of the majority of the steers produced on the farm. These animals produced an average carcass weight of 340kg at 23.4 months of age.

Shane’s soil pH status was strong entering the programme, as 73% of the farm was at the optimum pH of >6.2. The remaining 27% of the farm varied in degrees of acidity and included an area (10% of total farm) which had a pH of <5.5. Soil pH has since been corrected on all land, as 48t of lime were spread on low pH ground in the spring of 2019. The farm’s soil fertility status for phosphorus (P) is also relatively strong. 73% of the farm is at index 3 and 4 for P, with the majority of remainder at index 2. The level of potassium (K) present in the soil is the aspect of soil fertility which shows the most variation. 56% of the farm is at index 3 and 4 for K, with 32% of the remainder at index 2.

Join us on Shane's farm on 11 March and see how he is getting on in the Teagasc Green Acres programme.  

Read more about Shane here