A farm walk took place on Thursday 8 July on the farm of Peter and Tom McGuinness in Trim, Co Meath.

The father and son team, which claimed last year’s Grass 10 Sheep Grassland Farmers of the Year title, provided an in-depth overview of grassland management on the farm.

It was the first in-person Teagasc sheep farm walk to be held this year, drawing over 70 sheep farmers from Meath and surrounding counties.

Five groups were made of those in attendance to ensure social distancing measures could be followed at the five stands manned by the McGuinnesses and Teagasc speakers.

Grass measuring and budgeting received extensive coverage from the speakers, while reseeding, soil fertility and grazing infrastructure were also covered over the course of the walk’s proceedings.

The system

The McGuinnesses have integrated their flock with the tillage, contract heifer grazing and beef finishing elements of the enterprise, with ewes moved from grass fields on to forage crops for the winter.

The stated aim of the flock is to "finish as many lambs off grass as quickly as possible".

Farmer interest was strong on the outdoor lambing of the flock’s 800 ewes, as well as the use of Romney rams in breeding replacement ewe lambs.

Texel, Suffolk, Lleyn and Mule genetics are also present on the farm to varying extents.

The McGuinnesses are set to grow between 13t and 14t DM/ha on their grazing block this year, before moving ewes on to forage crops for winter.

The closing of paddocks from October will ensure enough grass is present on the farm in early spring to stop meal feeding at lambing from 10 March.

See next week’s sheep report to find out more on the system.