The costs involved in setting up a paddock system on your farm
The efficient production of extra grass is critical for increased stocking
The benefits, setting up and development costs of installing a paddock system were outlined at the recent Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef farm walk on the farm of Joe Farrell, Castledermot, Co. Kildare.
Joe's plan over the course of the Teagasc Green Acres programme is to drive the amount of beef produced on his farm. In doing this he will increase the performance of each individual animal and he will also have a higher stocking rate.
To achieve an increased stocking rate of one livestock unit per hectare from the start of the programme to when it is completed, Joe will need to produce at least three extra tonnes of grass dry matter per hectare. A paddock system will play a critical role in achieving this.
At the start of the Green Acres programme in early 2015, Joe ran a set stocking system where there were five different groups of stock and seven grazing divisions. This meant that a group of 25 to 30 animals were put into a field at the start of the grazing season and left there until housing.
Having identified the benefits that a paddock system could bring to his farm, Joe now has the farm divided up into 32 grazing divisions. With between four to five grazing groups, this allows between six and seven grazing divisions per group which is ideal.
The paddock system now provides Joe with better control of his grazing ground, where animals are always going into high quality leafy grass.
The paddocks allow the grass to be rested and grazed with the aim of growing the grass in three weeks and eating it in three days.
This ensures that there will be more grass produced and utilised over the grazing season.