Introducing Martin Connolly: Our host farmer for today’s Virtual Farm Walk
Welcome to this virtual farm walk as part of the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme on the farm of Martin Connolly in Castleplunket, Co. Roscommon.
Throughout the day, you will have the chance to watch a series of videos from Martin’s farm as he outlines his farming system and what he is aiming to achieve as part of the Green Acres programme.
The second phase of the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme was launched in the spring of 2019 and, since then, Martin and 11 other dairy calf-to-beef farmers have been working closely with the programme manager, Alan Dillon, and advisors, James Fitzgerald and Seán Cummins.
Both the management team and the farmers work on farm plans aimed at achieving a net margin of €500/ha before farm subsidies are taken into account.
Martin Connolly farms part-time just outside Castleplunket where he runs a calf-to-bull beef system. He farms 60ha of fragmented and slightly heavy land which would be typical of the area and typical of much of the west of Ireland.
He buys in 120 spring-born, dairy-bred male calves off local farmers and brings them through to slaughter at under approximately 22 months-of-age.
Martin has been traditionally achieving a carcass weight of 320kg at just under two years with his bulls, but from here on – as part of the Green Acres farm plan – a carcass weight of 335kg or higher will be targeted.
There is a major focus on achieving this extra carcass weight and controlling variable costs through improving grassland management, silage quality and implementing a rigorous herd health plan.