John Pringle’s mixed suckler-to-beef and sheep farm in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, was the venue for the final Beef Health Check event organised jointly by Teagasc, Animal Health Ireland and the meat industry (Slaney Foods supporting the Wicklow event). While the events focused primarily on beef, the fact that John runs a 250-ewe flock alongside the 48-cow suckler-to-beef enterprise facilitated discussions to be held across both systems.

John’s farming system is focused on a closed herd/flock policy with occasional purchases of rams and stock bulls the only animals moving onto the farm. Where animals are imported on to the farm, they are purchased well in advance of the breeding season so that a quarantine period can be implemented. This, according to John’s vet Mark Drought, is a critical component of preventing disease entering the herd and one that is unfortunately not always followed.