More than 850 farmers from counties Fermanagh and Tyrone visited the Farming Fair organised by Richardsons in the Town Hall, Enniskillen, last Wednesday.
Interest ran high from the very beginning of the afternoon session and by 8 o’clock the exhibition hall was crowded. In fact at one stage there was a queue to get in.
The technical advisers on each stand reported later that they had an almost overwhelming number of questions to deal with.
Two stands in particular which attracted a great crowd were those depicting the farm businesses of two local farmers.
Mr Desmond Rolston, who farms at Garvary, Enniskillen, has been on the Two Sward system of paddocks for the past three years. Twenty-two cows and 13 young stock are kept on 35 effective acres.
Last year he sowed three cwts Two Sward per acre at the end of February, with the idea, he says, of getting the cows out early. He also took two cuts of silage.
Not only has Mr Rolston adopted modern techniques of grazing but he has modern housing as well. Silage is self-fed and the cows are housed in cubicles in a lean-to to the silo.
The passage between the two rows of cubicles is slatted and so reduced the labour requirement involved in keeping the cows clean.
The stand featuring Mr Roy Swanston, who farms at Lowry, Tullyhommon, Kesh, illustrated the economics of suckler beef production.
His results for the 1968 and 1969 crop years were on display. One of the interesting points was the low cost housing which has allowed him to expand his herd with minimum expenditure.
At present 72 cows are on the farm and in the near future Mr Swanston plans to finish some of the calves for beef. Silage is the main winter feed, and meal is fed to the calves in a creep area.
The other Richardsons’ stands too proved great crowd pullers, especially the Plant Protection stand with particular interest centring on grassland renovation and weed control.
The Milk Marketing Board, too, reported a great interest in their milking machine testing scheme. Mr Bob Angus, senior field officer of the Board, said the response had been excellent.