Fresh facilities to the fore as Gurteen open day beckons

Brand new dairy and sheep facilities will be on show at the Gurteen Agricultural College open day next week.

Set to take place next Wednesday (March 13) from 10:00am to 12:30pm, prospective students and the wider public will get the chance to check out the kit on show, as well as hear about the courses offered by the school – which have been updated this year.

In terms of dairy upgrades, the agricultural school recently revamped its milking parlour, last year installing a 30-unit DeLaval system to milk its herd of pedigree Holstein cows.

Also Read: Pics: New dairy facility unveiled in Gurteen

Gurteen is the only agricultural college to run a herd of pedigree Holsteins, according to the school’s dairy production lecturer and education manager, Stephanie Scully.

In addition, a new 110-cow cubicle house is currently being built – with sheeting put on just last week, according to Scully.

Meanwhile, on the sheep side of things, the school’s sheep shed had been restructured with new floors, pens and barriers installed – as well as a new wing constructed to the side.

“We had to build that because we had 110 cows and we went up to 220 this year. So we obviously need the housing facilities for those coming into the spring,” Scully said.

As well as the dairy herd, Gurteen keeps 550 Cheviot and Suffolk ewes, lambed in January and March.

There are 270 beef cattle as well as 70 suckler cows, which are a mixture of of Limousin, Charlais, Simmental and Aberdeen Angus, crossed with Friesian.

40% of the sucklers calve in the autumn, with the remaining 60% spring calving.

The business has a contract for five new New Holland tractors every year, used particularly for the tillage enterprise.

On the tillage end, the college plants spring barley, fodder beet, winter barley, forage rape and willow.

2nd year students in Gurteen recently raised €5,000 in funding for the farming charity Embrace FARM, pictured with charity founder Brian Rohan