‘The biggest change I made was dividing the place up into better paddocks’

Earlier this evening, the second episode of [email protected] aired on AgriLand and Teagasc platforms. As part of the discussion, Meath-based farmer Aidan Maguire spoke about the benefits he has achieved since joining the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme.

“The biggest change I made was probably dividing the place up into better paddocks, and also upgrading the housing facilities for rearing the calves.”

“Feeding spaces have also been allocated for fattening cattle and cattle can now be fed meal in the pens,” he added.

The Meath man runs the dairy calf-to-beef enterprise on the holding in conjunction with a contracting business.

Prior to joining the programme, Aidan reared dairy calves and sold them as stores; however, all animals will be brought through to slaughter from now on.

He also noted that one of the biggest improvements he has made is in his grassland management practices.

“Getting cattle out early and keeping them a long time at grass has really improved weight gain going into the shed,” he said.

Teagasc specialist

The questions and answer session dealt with the issue of profit margins. Sean Cummins of Teagasc kicked off on this, noting that the target net margin for Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme farmers is €500/ha.

There was a discussion of what impacted on the actual profitability of farmers in the programme during the past year.

Dr. Nicky Byrne talked about how animals at Teagasc’s own facility – in Grange – fared. He outlined some of the challenges facing farmers right across the country.

Aidan Maguire explained why he switched from a calf to store system to offering a full finishing enterprise on his Meath-based holding.