Michael Cleary

Shinrone, Offaly
Our farm is situated 2 miles from the village of Shinrone near Birr in Co. Offaly and I started farming with my father 40 years ago.
My father passed away in 2000 but my mother is still with us and lives across the road in the old family home. She is an amazing women and at 92 years old is in very good health and has as much interest in our farm now as she ever had.
I got married to Mary in 1989 and have 5 children – 4 boys and 1 girl. They all help out on the farm, in saying that being farmers it’s hard for them not to be involved as there is always something which needs to be done.
Our farming system is calf to beef. This means that we buy calves at 3/4 weeks old and rear them through to beef which we sell at between 17 to 22 months.
The dominant breed of cattle on my farm is Hereford. They mature early and gain weight easily. We find that managing Herefords makes all our lives easier because of their docility and easy-going nature.
Hereford cattle are an early maturing breed and which reduces their environmental impact pre-disposing the breed for future farming. Herefords do well on a grass based diet and we utilize our grass so that we get the maximum benefit from it across the year.

I work off farm 4 days a week for Irish Hereford Prime. We are a small team and work closely together which means I get to do a little bit of everything for the group but mainly I liaise between the factory and the farmer and visit farmers to advise them on when their cattle are ready for sale.

If I were to advise fellow farmers on how to make their farming life easier it would be to put in a proper paddock system and roadways on their farm. This makes the job of moving cattle from paddock to paddock for grazing as efficient and easy on the animals as possible. We move the cattle 2 or 3 times per week and by having a proper system in place the routine is as effective and quick as it can be, with the least stress on all – me included!

As a farmer, environmental issues are always top of mind and more and more a topic of conversation. Recently we decided to stop spraying underneath the electric fences, which split the paddocks, the weeds now grow under the fences and are a perfect haven for wildlife and bees.

"Mary and myself had given up eating beef before I started working with Irish Hereford Prime as we struggled to get consistent, quality beef from where we shopped and the disappointment of less than the best put us off. Now we eat beef at least twice a week. "

Mary and myself had given up eating beef before I started working with Irish Hereford Prime as we struggled to get consistent, quality beef from where we shopped and the disappointment of less than the best put us off. Now we eat beef at least twice a week. Ribeye is our favourite cut and we both like it cooked medium/rare.
Sport is a huge part of our lives and I think it is a very important tool for people young and old, not only are the physical benefits of sports that are important. Playing sport, interacting with others, and being part of a team is so good for us. Our 4 lads all participate in the local club and we’ve developed some great friendships over the years. I am the current club Chairman and Mary helps with fundraising, jersey washing etc. We also have a very strong camogie club in Shinrone and our daughter Alanna plays with them and is a very active member of the club.

"Farming is such a seasonal occupation and I look forward to each season, Spring brings new growth, Summer brings long days and milder and warmer weather but also longer working hours, Autumn is a time to get ready for the Winter. Winter is a time of long nights and short days but a time to rest a little more and plan for the year to come."

Consumers choose excellence

Surveys confirm that customers prefer beef from grass-fed cattle and are willing to pay more for it. With its flavour, tenderness and consistency, Certified Irish Hereford Prime delivers an eating experience that turns any meal into a truly memorable event.

Intro