Aidan Maguire

Aidan farms 46ha just outside of Navan, Co Meath, where he rears 120 Friesian, Angus and Hereford calves. This year, 90 spring-born calves and 30 autumn-born calves were reared. Previously, all of the cattle were sold as stores but now Aidan hopes to increase his margins by finishing the heifers at 20 months and the steers at 24 months.

Martin Connolly

Martin Connolly.

Martin farms 60ha in Castleplunket, Co Roscommon, buying 120 Friesian bull calves each year and finishing them as bulls. The land type is slightly heavy in nature and the farm is split up into six different blocks, which can be considered the norm in many parts of the west of Ireland.

Richard Long

Richard farms 57ha of challenging land and operates a 120-head calf-to-beef system in Co Waterford, with all calves bought directly off his brothers’ dairy farm. An increased focus was placed on selecting better quality bulls – using the Dairy-Beef Index – to improve carcase weight and conformation of the cattle slaughtered.

Tim Meagher

Tim Meagher.

Tim runs a 110ha beef and tillage (spring barley) enterprise outside Roscrea in Co Tipperary. His current beef system, on 87ha of grassland, is the autumn purchase of 250 520kg continental steers and heifers which are finished off grass the following year.

Tim introduced clover into his grazing system to further reduce his cost of production and will share his experience to date of managing clover swards.

Martin Shaughnessy

Martin Shaughnessy.

Martin Shaughnessy is farming 18ha of free-draining shallow soil with a karstifised limestone bedrock in Roundfort, Co Mayo.

His stocking rate is in the region of 170kg organic N/ha which includes 18 suckler cows, 120 ewes and 40 hoggets. Martin is using 100% AI with a focus on producing a top quality weanling for sale in the autumn.

“Since joining the ASAP programme, I have really focused on my soil fertility and have a consciousness of the environment. I know what fertiliser to use, which paddocks need to get what fertiliser and at the right rate. It’s definitely saving me money and we know we are not damaging the environment.

“Our catchment has the best water quality of all the catchments.”

Philip Rochford

Philip Rochford.

Philip is running a beef and tillage enterprise in south Co Wexford. The land is heavy, and the trading system works well with the tillage operation. Philip purchases on average 55 heifers per year at approximately 400kg and finishes them mainly off grass. He has a stocking rate of 124kg N/ha. Philip has been using a trailing shoe since 2008 and really sees the benefits of it. It gives him more opportunities to apply slurry to grassland without complaints from his neighbours. The better use of slurry saves on chemical fertiliser.

Billy and Niall Nicholson

Billy and Niall Nicholson farm 136ha in partnership in Crosshaven about 10km southeast of Cork City. Ninety six hectares is in grassland and 40ha in tillage. They have a herd of 120 suckler cows, calving from mid-December to the end of February, bringing everything to finish. The males are finished as under-16-month bulls at 402kg carcase (conformation U=, fat score 3- ) and the heifers are finished at 20-22 months at 350kg. The herd has a 364-day calving interval producing 0.99 calves per cow per year. Billy and Niall put this down to having a dedicated replacement policy in the herd for years and can really see the benefits.

Sean Roddy

Sean Roddy.

Sean manages the suckler herd in Lyons Demense, in Co Kildare. Last spring, he calved 90 suckler cows. Measuring grass on a weekly basis allows him to utilise grass better.

The aim is to finish all progeny at 18-20 months off grass with little or no concentrates. Sean’s excellent grazing management on the farm is evident in the high animal weight gain he can achieve from grass.