Newford Farm, the suckler-to-beef demonstration farm located in Athenry, Co Galway, is holding an open day on Tuesday 23 May.

Phase one of the project - established by Dawn Meats and Teagasc and supported by McDonalds and the Irish Farmers Journal - has seen several crops of calves produced and brought through to beef.

The event, which takes place from 2pm to 6pm, will comprise of a farm walk discussing performance of the project since it began in 2015 and plans for the coming years.

Four stops

There will be four stops in the walk covering the farm’s physical and financial performance, breeding and genetics, grassland management and animal performance and a focus on improving the environmental credentials of Newford Farm.

The latter topic is being given more credence in phase two, with the farm a member of the Teagasc Signpost programme and Future Beef programme.

These two programmes aim to demonstrate best practice in sustainable beef production through a combination of improving production efficiencies in a manner that benefit financial performance, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve biodiversity.

Farm changes

The farm is undergoing a number of changes, with the area farmed reducing by in the region of 12ha in 2023 due to the loss of Tuohy’s block of land.

This will reduce the number of cows in the herd to 85. This reduction has already occurred, with the farm experiencing significant issues with TB and losing eight cows in 2022.

The finishing blueprint has also changed, with the target to draft heifers for slaughter at under 18 months of age, along with increasing the number of bullocks killed off grass and reducing lifetime concentrate intake.


A significant challenge in recent years has been keeping variable costs in check with concentrates, fertiliser and contracting costs three of the greatest focal areas that need to be brought in check.

A programme of incorporating clover into grassland swards through a combination of reseeding and over-sowing clover is aimed at reducing fertiliser usage, along with maximising the efficiency of nutrients in slurry through the use of low emissions slurry spreading equipment.

With regards reducing contractor costs, the farm has switched its silage ground from Cones outfarm block to the Newford block to reduce transport costs.

All of these changes, along with initiatives planned through the Signpost programme, will be discussed at the open day.