The Irish Hereford Prime farmer of the year award is a huge honour and, for 2023, that award has fallen at the hands of Maurice Hallahan from Grange, Co Waterford.

Maurice is the third generation of Hallahans to farm at Grange and similar to the benefits of a co-ordinated approach taken by the Irish Hereford Prime producer group in marketing Hereford beef under one brand, Maurice is a strong believer in the power of farmers coming together.

He is part of a local purchasing group in his area that strives to strike the best deal possible for lots of his farm inputs; such as diesel, fertiliser, fencing, veterinary supplies and feed.

Maurice said: “Farming as most of us know is not always easy at times, but it is a great way of life. Farming Herefords does help and so they will be part of my farming system for the foreseeable future.”

Maurice operates a Hereford-cross heifer beef system, since he retired from dairy farming over 12 years ago and works an impressive and well-run farming system, historically buying between 65 and 75 Hereford-cross heifers in as weanlings each year.

However, in 2023, Maurice made some changes and bought in 110 Hereford-cross heifers.

In 2024, he aims to stock the farm entirely with Hereford-cross cattle, and with all things going well, this will mean 150 Hereford heifers on the farm.

He keeps them for a period of approximately 12 months, taking them right through to finish at which point he supplies his local factory, ABP Waterford. Maurice is also a participant in the ABP Advantage Beef Programme.

Maurice places huge emphasis on buying quality cattle and he makes the majority of his purchases locally in both Corrin and Dungarvan marts.

Over 80% of the Hereford cattle that Maurice slaughters have only one or two farm movements in their lifetime.

Performance data from Maurice’s herd over the past five years has allowed Irish Hereford Prime to see that he has managed to drop the age of slaughter by 41 days in that period, while at the same time not only maintaining carcase weight but actually increasing it by an average of 11kg.