Padraig & Owen Hegarty

Leamlara, Co. Cork
My father and I run our 70-acre farm in Leamlara, Co Cork together. We run a calf to beef system and our cattle of choice are predominantly Herefords.
We have a paddock system in place so that we can leave the herd out from March to November, moving them once a week or so to ensure that they are always getting the best grass available
We soil sample every two years and spread lime on newly seeded areas (sown in April) to encourage healthy growth.
We also set aside five acres to grow kale, which we sow in July, and we have some land given over to forestry (mainly oak trees). The farm also boasts whitethorn hedges and an array of wildlife.

The cattle are kept in straw bedded slatted sheds over the winter months and they are fed on good quality, first cut, silage, which we grow ourselves. I believe that the Hereford is a great breed to keep on the farm as they are easy to keep looking well and healthy, and their carcass weights are consistently higher than other breeds. We slaughter our heifers at 22 months and our steers at 26/27 months.

I am the third generation of my family to farm at Leamlara. I studied agriculture at Clonakilty while at the same time apprenticing as an electrician. I began my career working on building sites before coming home and focusing my attention on farming. I still work part -time as an electrician, on farms in particular fitting cameras for security and calving purposes. My father Padraig also works with other farms as part of Farm Relief and my sister lives close by in Cork city.

I am a big GAA fan and am involved in the local GAA club, Lisgoold GAA, playing both hurling and football. I am also passionate about horse racing, and I am part of a syndicate that owns a mare, we regularly travel to Irish and UK racing festivals including Cheltenham, Listowel and Punchestown. Most weekends you’ll find me cheering on the runners at a point to point.
My father and I have plans to expand into sucklers in the future and at the moment our biggest challenges are the cost of inputs and the long-term price of beef. But we both believe that the satisfaction we get from seeing happy healthy animals relaxing in the field on a sunny afternoon makes all the hard work worthwhile, it’s just great when you come home to a field of animals relaxed and lying chewing their cud.

“It’s just great when you come home to a field of animals relaxed and lying chewing their cud.”