CAFRE Beef Grassland Technology Demonstration Farmer (TDF) Stephen Maguire from Congo, Maguiresbridge, County Fermanagh, is never one to let the grass grow under his feet.
Just over a year ago Stephen decided to go in a completely new direction when he put up a purpose built calf house for 120 calves as part of the ABP Blade Farming programme, which is an integrated contract farming operation dedicated to producing consistently high quality beef.
Through a range of initiatives, ABP work closely with farmers to help them rear and finish cattle to a high specification for high value markets.
This business model helps farmers to reduce unnecessary costs and optimise cattle performance.
Stephen said: “I decided to join the Blade programme for economic reasons and also for a better work life balance.
“While it has involved some adjustment to the new system I now have my fourth batch of calves in the house and I am really pleased with the progress to date.
“I have also been able to keep on 100 calves from the first three batches on the farm and my target is to be able to finish 100 cattle per year.
“I am passionate about grassland farming and have been able to increase stocking and profitability rates significantly over the past number of years as part of the Better Beef Challenge NI programme.
“I am also excited about being a TDF grassland management farmer and I am really looking forward to having groups of farmers visit my farm again, whilst following health and safety guidelines for Covid-19.”
n Details of all TDFs, including Stephen’s, and how to book a visit are available on the CAFRE website www.cafre.ac.uk/industry-support/technology-demonstration-farms/
n At the moment CAFRE is taking group bookings only by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
n The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union fund the Business Development Groups Scheme and the establishment of Technology Demonstration Farms across Northern Ireland under the Innovation Technology Evaluation Demonstration (ITED) Scheme as part of the Rural Development Programme.
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