Peter & Ronan Murray

My family have been farming this land in Roscommon for many years.
After finishing school my son Ronan went to college at GMIT and earned a degree in Rural Enterprise & Agriculture, Business and Accounting. Since then, he has returned here to farm and is the 4th generation of Murray to work this land.
We currently run a calf to beef system with roughly 50 calves, which is working really well for us. We had a suckler herd in the past, but in 2012 we started to reduce suckler numbers and purchased our first dairy cross calves.

When choosing calves we look very closely at health and we also want a well-made calf. The Hereford breed is an ideal calf as it has high levels of vigour, and they gain weight easily for their age.
We currently graze for 7 months of the year, our land runs alongside the river Suck, so it’s well suited to the lighter calf to beef system. We weigh our cattle regularly with Irish Hereford Prime, to ensure that they are in good health, and we have a target weight of at least 190kg by 6 months of age.

We operate a paddock system to ensure the grass is top quality and we turn the cattle out as early as possible in the spring to take advantage of the new growth. We cut our own silage with a single chop harvester – it might be old school, but it works for us. We’re very careful about the quality of our silage and we test it annually through Irish Hereford Prime.

With the river Suck on our doorstep, we have a great deal of aquatic birds and wildlife. We keep a close eye on the geese and swan habitats right beside the river, we never use spray or fertiliser here and we keep the cattle away from that land from October to April. We also have badgers, foxes, and buzzards around the farm.

"I love to see the cattle grazing out, there’s nothing more satisfying than the sight of a herd of healthy and content Herefords thriving out in sunny fields."

We soil sample annually and plan to adopt low emissions slurry spreading soon. We think that this will optimise the recycling of farm nutrients and reduce our fertiliser costs, and of course it means less emissions, so it is better for the environment.

When we have some free time myself and the rest of my family are very involved in the local community, I am chairman of the local community centre and we are all proud supporters of our local GAA team – The Padraig Pearse’s, which are one the biggest clubs in the county.

"There’s nothing better than coming in after watching a match on a cold day to a home cooked Hereford Prime roast dinner."