Ireland's top grass grower
Published 20/05/2015 | 02:30
Listening to Mick Magan explain his grass production system, you would be forgiven for thinking that it's pretty much the same as any other well-run pasture farm in the country.
That's before you see the figures. Last year, Magan recorded a massive 18.8t/ha of drymatter (DM) production across his 36ha milking platform in Co Longford. That's almost treble the national average.
If a cereal grower produces a 5t/ac yield of grain at 20pc moisture, they're regarded as top-class. A six tonne crop at similar moistures, equating to 4.8t/ac of drymatter, would be considered exceptional. But the Magans in Killashee in mid-Longford are producing 7.6t/ac of drymatter. Golden Vale, how are you!
Mick's dad is Mike, who is well-known throughout farming circles for his roles in Lakeland Dairies, the Holstein Friesian Association, Animal Health Ireland, and the Agricultural Trust.
"People don't realise it, but good land in this region has the capacity to out-produce any part of the country. We don't suffer from the droughts that often hit more coastal areas, and we don't get the kind of rainfall that farmers in the western half of the country cope with," says Mike.
The proof is in the pudding, with figures from Teagasc's PastureBase showing that two farms last year produced more than 18t/ha of grass drymatter. One was in Kerry, while the other was in the small village of Killashee.
The massive grass output is also translating into impressive milk production per hectare. With the absence of milk quotas, the best dairy farmers now have their focus very firmly on output per hectare, since land is seen as the new limitation on what any farm can produce.