Leslie and Ian Buttimer

Killeagh, Co. Cork
My father Leslie Buttimer bought our farm in 2000. He has been an agricultural contractor for many years and once he bought his own place, we dedicated much time and energy into improving the land and getting the most from the farm.
We sow new grass, along with clovers in the seed mixture, to make production more efficient. Grass is the most cost effective and natural way to feed our cattle, so it is vital that we get it right.
We turn our Herefords out as early as possible, usually before St Patrick’s Day to maximise the grazing season and we like to leave them out as long as the weather and the land allows, past Halloween if we can. We operate a paddock system and try our best to keep them moving so they have fresh grass every 2 to 3 days.
“We need to be even more efficient and utilise grass as it is still the relatively cheapest energy /feed source, not to mention the environmentally better option”

For me the quality of silage is another vital element for healthy cattle. We make it early in the season (timing is key) to ensure that we get top quality, leafy, palatable silage. We have mixed land across the farm, with some dry and other areas heavier, so parts of the farm benefit from wetter weather, while others suit drier (almost drought-like) conditions. We take soil samples regularly; our index levels are optimal, and our Ph levels are improving through a lime spreading programme that we are currently implementing.

“We are very conscious of the environment and biodiversity on our farm.”

We are members of the GLAS scheme and work hard to encourage and support wildlife on the land. We have bird and bat boxes and in 2016 we added significant hedging to the farm. Our land includes a traditional hay meadow and we also have a grove of 500 native trees.

We chose to farm Herefords because they are an easy breed to raise. It’s easy to get weight on them off grass (especially the heifers), which is vital now that the cost of feed is rising. We finish our cattle at quite a young age, heifers at 18 months, steers at 24 to 27 months and this means that we can limit the amount of time they need to be wintered inside.

When I’m not working on the farm, I spend time with my wife Nicola and children Joe and Nora. We love to head off to see Cork hurling or doing some fun activities and adventures together. I used to play both football and hurling for Valley Rovers GAA, but I’m retired now. I get great satisfaction in farming, particularly when I’m out of the tractor in the fresh air and seeing the animals grow and thrive, from the day they arrive to the day they leave.

"I get great satisfaction in farming, particularly when I’m out of the tractor in the fresh air and seeing the animals grow and thrive, from the day they arrive to the day they leave."

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