Tom Barry

Dunboyne, Co. Meath
My grand uncle Paddy Barry bought this farm in 1937, but it dates back to the 1700s.
Herefords, accountancy, and greyhounds are my three jobs, but Herefords are my first love. We’ve had Herefords on this farm, in Baytown Park, Dunboyne, since the 1940s. My grand uncle Paddy Barry bought this farm in 1937, but it dates back to the 1700s.
I am the third generation to farm this land taking over from my late father, Thomas Barry in 2008. Paddy founded the Baytown herd in 1949, where young bull calves were often sold and raised for Show and Sale to other breeders, which was an unusual aspect of trade of the farm at that time.
We keep Hereford cross suckler cows as well as pedigree Hereford cows. We also have a flock of sheep that have lambs in Springtime. Herefords are such a lovely docile breed and as a part time farmer, with teenagers helping around the farm, it’s important to have a breed that’s easy to look after and handle.

When I select a new stock bull, I first look for easy calving, then correct feet and good conformation, along with terminal figures or traits. I try to utilise the grass to the maximum ability of the farm, some areas have heavy soil, so it’s not always easy to get the cattle out to grass early. I try to get them all turned out by late March.

Our farm is in the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) for the past 5 years, where we are required to complete a nutrient management plan and frequently take soil samples. Low input permanent pasture is another measure that we have adopted here as part of GLAS.

We are also part of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP). This programme aims to improve the genetic merits of the national beef herd by collecting genotypes and data that enable the selection of the most efficient animals for breeding, which in turn contributes to lowering the level of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that are associated with the national beef herd.

Most recently we became involved in the DNA Calf Registration programme. This is a pilot programme to assess the time, the costs and the practicalities of a programme being rolled out at national level, which in turn will build on the objectives of BDGP Programme through the selection of more efficient animals for breeding.

“We’ve had Herefords for so long on this farm, they are part of the furniture.”

This is a family farm, and my brother Bernard farms the second half of the original family holding across the road. My wife Jacqui is a quantity surveyor and she works from home, which really suits family and farm life. My children Grace (16), Eva (15) and Liam (12) all work on the farm, and I think it’s a great way to teach them responsibility and to let them learn about looking after the animals. They learn about the care of both sheep and cattle. I think it’s vital that children everywhere are educated about where their food comes from and how different animals are reared.

"I love the satisfaction that comes from seeing healthy Hereford calves that are growing well and particularly when they are turned out on spring grass."