FERMANAGH Grassland Club members have marked achievements in silage making and grazing management during 2018 with a dinner and awards evening in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen.
Before the awards were handed out, the guest speaker Eric Reid, former director of Moy Park and now managing a cattle finishing enterprise in his native County Armagh, highlighted the achievements of the agricultural industry over the decades.
Mr Reid, who has worked for five decades in the poultry industry, reviewed the improved efficiencies of the poultry industry over the years and says cattle production must follow.
He now finishes 500-600 cattle from 120 acres, driving efficiency off grass production.
The club then announced the winners of the silage making and grazing competitions.
Grazing Competition sponsored by the Vaughan Trust:
This competition was judged by former winner, John Egerton, Rosslea, and Daryl Boyd, CAFRE.
Daryl stressed the importance of benchmarking data and referred to the difficulties of the year of 2018 such as beef prices down by one per cent per kg from 2017, inputs such as meal up by 8-9 per cent and a year when the value of grass was reinforced. There were 11 entrants, six from dairy farms and five from beef/sheep farms.
He said it was great to see many projects on farms arising from the late spring and good summer. He said they were looking for good leafy ryegrasses and it was great to see farmers pre-mowing swards to improve efficiency.
Dairy section: 1 (Stevenson Cup), Philip Clarke, Augher; 2, Trevor Dunn, Brookeborough; 3, Nigel Graham, Kinawley.
Beef/Sheep section: 1 (Todd Cup), Stephen Maguire, Maguiresbridge; 2, Robert Graham,Tempo; 3, Jason Elliott, Rosslea.
Silage Competition sponsored by Barenbrug:
This competition was judged by John Egerton and David Linton, Regional Manager, Barenbrug Seeds. David explained how a cold, wet start to 2018 turned out to be an amazing year. It was a good season for silage making and a phenomenal year for reseeding.
Under 900 tonnes category: 1 (Hermon Cup), Stephen Maguire; 2, Brendan Boyle, Rosslea; 3, Ivan Nicholl, Lisbellaw.
Over 900 tonnes category: 1 (Tisdall Cup), David Keys, Fivemiletown; 2, Jason McMahon; 3, Edwin Bruce.
The Houston Trophy, awarded for a significant contribution to agriculture, was awarded to dairy farmer Kevin McGrade, a top grassland farmer who has been a pioneer for sustainability.