VIDEO: Keeping suckling simple in the west


Cathal Irwin is a part-time suckler-to-store farmer from outside Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

The Grass10 course farmer, who is featured as part of Teagasc’s Virtual Beef Week, focuses on improving grass production and utilisation.

He took over the farm in 2015, at a time when the main grazing platform was approximately 20-acres. “It was all one complete unit and cattle free-grazed all summer.”

“When I took it over, I split it into twelve paddocks and now we are grazing 3.7 LU/ha, that equates to about 15 stores, 15 cows and 15 calves.”

Striking a balance

“I would be a very typical west of Ireland farmer. I am self-employed and I work part-time on the farm.”
Cathal said he is also very conscious that he does want the farm to consume too much of his family life.

“Typically, in the summer months, the farm only takes up 3-4 hours per week. In the winter months, probably 1-2 hours per day, feeding and another 3-4 hours at the weekend.”

“My two big focuses as a suckler farmer are breeding the best quality animal that I can and finish them as quickly as possible - I am very focused on average daily gain.”

“I have also put a big focus on my weanlings, getting them out to grass early in springtime, which helps to reduce costs, improve animal performance and reduce the workload.”

Grassland management

Irwin said he has been guided by Teagasc, who formed the Mayo grass group, which he is now a member of.

He walked the farm thirty times last year and grew 9.3 tonnes DM/ha.

“My future plans on the farm are to keep improving infrastructure and reseeding - I want to have all the farm reseeded within the next three years.”

“Maybe then, I will further reclaim more land with a view to building another shed.”

“My whole philosophy is to keep improving, improving, improving,” Cathal concluded.

Image and video source: Teagasc \ Youtube

Comments


Latest Videos

The Marts Forecast
The Marts Forecast
Click to View Weekly Mart Schedules
SELECT LIVESTOCK

Cattle Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Birr
  • Carrigallen
  • Granard
  • Elphin
  • Inishowen
  • Manorhamilton
  • Stranolar
  • Tuam

Tuesday

  • Ballina
  • Ballyjamesduff
  • Drumshambo
  • Ennis
  • Enniscorthy
  • Fermoy
  • Nenagh

Wednesday

  • Athenry
  • Ballinrobe
  • Elphin
  • Granard
  • Kilrush
  • Nenagh

Thursday

  • Ballymote
  • Birr
  • Castlerea
  • Drumshambo
  • Ennis
  • Kilkenny
  • Raphoe

Friday

  • Donegal
  • Gort
  • Kilfenora
  • Roscommon
  • Roscrea
  • Tullow

Saturday

  • Balla
  • Carnew
  • Carrigallen
  • Dowra
  • Loughrea
  • Maam Cross
  • Mohill
  • New Ross
  • Scariff
  • Tullow

Sheep Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Ballyjamesduff
  • Carrigallen
  • Elphin
  • Fermoy
  • Kilkenny
  • Raphoe

Tuesday

  • Athenry
  • Ballina
  • Donegal
  • Ennis
  • Inishowen
  • Tuam
  • Tullow

Wednesday

  • Ballinrobe
  • Enniscorthy
  • Gort
  • Manorhamilton
  • Roscommon
  • Roscrea
  • Stranorlar

Thursday

  • Ballymote
  • Carnew
  • Loughrea

Friday

  • Dowra

Saturday

  • New Ross
  • Maam Cross

Dairy Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

  • Kilkenny

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Enniscorthy (2nd Wednesday Of Month)

Thursday

Friday

  • Fermoy

Saturday

Calf Marts Scheduled Nationwide

Monday

Tuesday

  • Kilkenny

Wednesday

  • Enniscorthy

Thursday

Friday

Saturday