Green acres calf to beef... Room to expand
Teagasc advisor Gordon Peppard profiles two of the participating farmers in the Green Acres Calf to Beef programme
John Lalor and his family farm 115ac of grassland, along with additional land in cereals, in Co Laois. John currently has 90 Angus and Hereford heifer calves bought in, and plans to bring this up to 100 calves before the end of May.
While John plans to rear and finish approximately 100 Angus/Hereford heifers every year, this number may well increase over the next few years to take advantage of new reseeds and additional grass utilised from his new paddock system.
The biggest obstacle to increased stock numbers will be housing availability. John could build more shed space, but this is probably the least likely option.
Alternatively, heifers in their second year could be finished at grass without the need for re-housing, which would leave more space for younger stock.
The final option is to convert existing sheds into animal housing. All options will be assessed over the course of the three-year programme.
The current split on calves is 60 Angus and 30 Hereford. They are fed twice a day with four litres of milk, or the equivalent of 700g of milk replacer. John aims to have them eating at least 1kg of a 18pc protein course ration daily by weaning.
Calves will be cut back to once-a-day milk feeds about 10 days before weaning. These calves also have access to straw and water at all times.