A fine example of the kind of expansion which can be achieved on a typical small South Armagh farm has been demonstrated this year by 26 year old Mr William Herron of Altnamachin, near Newtownhamilton.
Up until two years ago the 30 acre farm carried only six cows. Since then, however, an expansion programme has been under way and this year the farm is carrying an average of 25 dairy cows.
The two sward system of grass management has been brought into use on the farm this season and the dairy herd is grazed round a 21 acre paddock system.
This acreage under paddocks is slightly larger than is required for the present cow numbers, but planned increases in the herd will improve the stocking rate even further.
A nine acre block has been cut twice for silage this year to give a yield of 250 tons. Fertiliser usage on the farm is now approaching an average of 250 units of nitrogen per acre.
Mr Herron feels that the adoption of the Two Sward system on the farm has improved his grass management in a number of ways.
“It has certainly reduced poaching,” he says, “which was a big problem with strip grazing. It also has saved time and labour and has given me a constant supply of lush grass for the herd.”
Mr Herron, who has been farming for seven years, hopes next year to further intensify his management. He aims to improve his silage yield by cutting three times, and hopes also to bring into use four extra acres which are being reseeded.
This reseed is being carried out using Gramoxone to destroy old growth, followed by rotovation. The ground is unsuitable for ploughing.
Further expansion of the dairy herd is planned for 1969, and Mr Herron hopes to build the new type of cow kennels to provide low cost housing for extra animals.