Clement King

Riverstown, Co. Offaly
I was delighted to be awarded Irish Hereford Prime farmer of the year in 2021.
I’ve been farming Herefords for the last few years and I was delighted to be awarded the Irish Hereford Prime farmer of the year in 2021.
I grew up on a dairy farm and then went out on my own with this farm in Offaly over 30 years ago. You could say I stumbled into Herefords, I originally bred Charolais suckler cattle, but then my son used his communion money to buy himself some Hereford cross calves and I realised what a great breed they are. I was sizing up my son’s calves and I realised they were doing just as good, if not better than mine.
I purchased my own Herefords and I’ve never looked back. I currently finish 20 heifers a year and a handful of steers, but I hope to increase this number soon, as I have pulled back from sucklers to focus on calf to beef.

I buy 75 Hereford cross calves, both bulls and heifers, every spring and I source them from three dairy farmers with whom I have a good relationship. I am a firm believer in the importance of early calf management and I think a proper vaccination programme, calves that come from a good ‘British Friesian’ type cow, and correct feeding, can make all the difference in the long-term health and success of the herd.

For me, good grass management is the key to success on any farm. Over the last few years, I have re-seeded the whole farm and I’ve brought in a high level of clover to the swards. I grass measure and I have found that the new grasses work really well for me.

"I am a firm believer in the importance of early calf management."

With an off-farm job with Liffey-Mills as well as the day-to-day work on the farm, I really rely on help from my wife, Deirdre, and my two teenage sons, Peter and Eoin. The lads are a great help, they are both involved in Offaly GAA, but they will feed the calves and get their work done before they head off to hurling training. It’s great to see the interest that they have.

"Any free time I have would be spent with the GAA, it’s the lifeblood of the family and a passion that we all share."