Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Alkaline treated grain mix proves a winner for innovative Monaghan farm

Gerry Giggins

Jim and Alison Greer, based in the heart of drumlin country, outside Castleblayney, Co Monaghan have been working to maximise their use of grain over the past few years.

The suckler to beef and sheep farm carries 92 Angus cross cows, with a Charolais bull used as a terminal sire, and 280 ewes of the Easycare breed.

Jim opts for a slightly later calving in late March, April and into the early days of May as his land is very heavy and hilly and he likes to get the cows out straight after calving. The ewes lamb in April outside, which reduces the workload.

The current stocking weight on the farm is 3.15 lu/ha.

Bulls are slaughtered at 14 months of age and the current batch sold off an average 376kg carcass.

Heifers are slaughtered at similar ages and the current group at 14.5 months have averaged 280kg carcase.

The summer finishing suits very well on the Greer farm.

All animals are slaughtered in Kepak, Clonee, where Jim is very satisfied with the relationship he has developed.

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Native Irish cereals sourced within the Louth/Meath region are the backbone of feeding for the fattening animals, sheep, young weanlings and lactating cows.

Choosing how to maximise the use of grain is something the Greers have been working on for a number of years.


The Greers will generally buy their requirements for grain directly from farms at harvest time.

Jim feels they have good control on the quality and choice and they then chose a storage and treatment method to best suit their livestock.

Buying the grain at 'first cost' also significantly reduces their feed costs on the farm.

Previously, soda grain and moist crimped grain were used, but currently they are using alkaline treated grain, Maxammon.

The current batch of bulls has achieved a live weight gain of 1.9 kg/head/day and heifers are achieving 1.6kg/head/day.

The Greers have seen a tremendous change regarding foot problems since they started using the alkaline grain.

One of the challenges in finishing bulls at 14 months of age is achieving sufficient fat cover, but this poses no problem on the Greer farm.

Fat scores of 3 are easily achieved due to the high levels of starch that are being safely fed to the animals.

All that the Greers are achieving can be seen on August 25 when they host an open day on their farm to showcase their Easycare breed.

National and international experts on sheep production will be present on the day.

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