FARMERS from the Inishowen region of County Donegal last month travelled to visit two CAFRE Business Development Group farms in County London-derry.
Thirteen farmers from Inishowen, all members of Taegasc – the Republic of Ireland’s authority responsible for research, development, training and education in the agri-food sector – were accompanied on their visit by their advisor Martin McCullagh.
The visit took in two beef farms, the first of which belongs to Neil and Fergal Donaghy in Slaughtmanus.
The Donaghys showcased their Limousin suckler to beef enterprise. The trip coincided with some of the home bred heifer’s calving and that provided excellent examples of the offspring produced on the farm.
Particular interest was also shown from the group to the 16 month bull beef system on the farm and the genetic potential being built through the suckler herd.
Good cow fertility, maternal traits for milk and colostrum and silage quality were all discussed during the visit, and feedback from the group greatly praised the quality of calves and the finishing stock also being produced there.
The second visit of the day brought the group to the farm of Ronnie McIlroy in Aghadowey, a short distance from Coleraine.
Ronnie and his son Graham are an excellent example of a diversified family farm with enterprises comprising of suckler beef, calf to beef, broiler houses and drying floors.
Ronnie outlined how his suckler herd are bred to Aberdeen Angus, producing top quality steers and heifers for finishing and his recent move towards rearing drop calves from the dairy herd to beef.
Graham gave the group a talk through the workings of his poultry enterprise and outlined how the drying floors are used to dry grain and woodchip, giving the group some excellent food for thought to take back to their home farms.
Both farms visited on the day are members of their local CAFRE Business Development Group, meeting regularly with other farmers in their areas to engage in knowledge transfer.
The Business Development Groups Scheme is part of the NI Rural Development Programme and is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.