Aaron Deverell

Annaharvey, Tullamore, Co.Offaly
With tillage, an equestrian centre and cattle on our farm, we have a lot going on!
We have a tillage, equestrian and calf to store and finish beef system on our farm at Annaharvey near Tullamore, Co.Offaly. We have lots going on here! This year I moved from store beef to finishing my own cattle and I hope to finish 90 of my own cattle in the coming months.
At the moment I’m rearing 90 calves that I sourced from Cork and Kerry, with the help of a dealer. I have a number of different breeds, but the herd is predominantly made up of Herefords. I just find them very easy and quiet animals to deal with, you never have an issue with them, they are really easy to handle and just get on with growing.
My calves are started in sheds on rations, but I quickly move them onto grass. We have different set up here to many farms, as we have a large equestrian business as well, so the grassland is grazed by both cattle and horses which works out very well.

For the past 20 years the land was mostly used for tillage so there was very little parasite burden. We put the cattle onto the best grass and then they are followed behind by the horses who clean out the paddocks. The mixture works very well, we never have to use topper here at all. We also use our own crops to make our feed, using our homegrown barley and oats I formulate a feed of 55% barley, 20% soya, 15% beet pulp and 10% oats. This gives me a ration of between 18 and 19% protein. I prefer mixing it up myself as I see a big difference in the minerals compared to the bought ration, we are in a small deficit of copper in this area, so the animals’ coats have an orange hue off of them. As soon as I put them on my own mix, a week to 10 days later you will see the coats improving. It also means I have more control over their diet and I know exactly what they are getting.

"I find Hereford cattle really easy to deal with, you never have an issue with them."

Moving forward I hope to refine the beef operation on the farm. It is going to be about finding the balance of seeing how many cattle we can operate on the farm, alongside the horses. We are not a straight forward farm. We run a number of equestrian competitions throughout the year. We can’t say that we have this amount of land for this amount of cattle, because these competitions take up a lot of ground. For that reason I’m hoping to think of ways to improve the infrastructure on the farm. Recently the number of cattle that need to be housed indoors has increased considerably and I’m looking at investing in more sheds to help manage this going forwards.

"With so much going on I don’t have much spare time, but I do enjoy a well-cooked steak at the end of a long day."