Transferring knowledge from class to farm

ON FARM: James pictured with a group of suckler cows and calves on his home farm.

Hi, my name is James Orr and I come from a suckler farm close to the village of Ballintoy in north Antrim. I am coming to the end of my three year course at CAFRE Greenmount Campus where I am studying the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture.

It has always been my aspiration to follow a career in agriculture and put the knowledge gained on my course into practice on the family farm. A key element of the course was the practical year out. I used this as an opportunity to gain valuable experience working on a dairy farm to give me an insight into another farming enterprise. This part of the course enabled me to encounter first-hand the real world of work!

VISIT: James at Dunbia ‘Walk the Supply Chain’ visit.

Our farm business is in the CAFRE Business Development Group (BDG) scheme and as part of that we recently hosted a meeting for the group on our farm. I am keen to develop efficiencies at farm level and to utilise information that can help improve the business performance.

As part of the Business Development Group (BDG) scheme I have been able to work closely with my father to examine our financial, fertility and carcase benchmarking to enable informed decisions to be made with regard to the suckler herd. We have also been able to examine silage quality quickly on farm to allow accurate changes to feeding regimes as required.

I was recently able to attend a meeting which was held at Dunbia, Dungannon, where the group had the opportunity to ‘Walk the Supply Chain’ to view the process from slaughter right through to packaging. Many interesting points were raised in relation to producing the type of animal the market requires and the challenges that are faced by farmers in the industry at present.

After graduation I am looking forward to taking a break from my studies to work as part of a farm contracting team for the summer months.

n For further details on CAFRE programmes please go to


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here