I’m a big fan of the Hereford animal, there’s a tradition of having the breed on the farm, my father and grandfather always kept a few Herefords. They are docile and easy to keep and are available locally, which is not only handy for me, it is also better for the animals, as they don’t get stressed with travelling. I usually keep the heifers until they are 19 months and the steers until 24 months.
It is important to get the cattle out onto the spring grass as early as possible and my herd will usually go out in early March, depending on the weather. I believe that grass and silage quality is the key to raising a strong healthy herd. Feeding the calves well and maximising their performance in early life is vital. I do soil sample tests every few years and silage tests every year, and I operate a paddock system. You can’t take too much out of the land or it will not continue to produce what you need and will not be preserved long term. You can’t be over or under stocked as both will cause problems – hence the need to maintain a balance for the land.
I believe that it is important for people to realise that as Irish Hereford Prime farmers we aren’t just producing great food, we’re also playing our part in maintaining the land, the environment and being part of the local community. My farm is a small holding and has a greater amount of hedgerows and trees than some other, bigger farms providing a haven for local wildlife and the biodiversity of the area.