When Kenneth Telford took the prize for the top student in addition to the principal’s award for the best project at the recent Strabane Agricultural School prize day, he was marking up an achievement which has almost become a family tradition. At the same school in the spring term of 1966 his brother Derek finished second overall and led in his project – poultry.
On the brothers’ home farm the standard of agriculture is of a high order. As might be expected, poultry is one of the three enterprises carried on at the 22 acre holding at Eccles Green, Fintona, Co Tyrone.
This was one of the first farms in the country to instal Californian cages and today 3,000 Kimber chicks are housed in two batches.
Figures from their flock are interesting; one batch, recently housed, are not coming into production. The second batch of 1,230 caged on August 21 have produced outstanding results. Production at 36 weeks on Thompsons Light Hybrid mash is running at 85 per cent – 78 per cent large and standard eggs, seconds and cracks, 2.2 per cent, and mortality from 18 weeks to date has been only two per cent.
Mr Arthur Telford is very pleased with the performance of Kimber chicks.
“Ever since I had these fowls, I have found them very resistant to Marek’s disease. The egg quality is very good. I have had very few cracks and seconds. Next year, to have brown eggs for the expanding brown egg market, I hope to have 40 per cent Warren Studler and 60 per cent Kimber,” he declared.
The dairying unit on the Telford farm has figures that are above average, too.
The herd average from 25 Friesian cows is 964 gallons and meal fed is one pound and a half to a gallon of milk. While the cows are kept on the farm’s 22 acres, six other cattle are grazed on rented land.
Although different methods of controlling grazing have been tried, the dairy herd on the farm are now strip-grazed with an electric fence.
To avoid the necessity of erecting a back fence, fields are divided into 1.5 acre plots with a semi-permanent wire. Hay cut from 11 acres in early June provides most of the conserved fodder. A little hay is also bought.