Kilkenny farmer's switch from sucklers to rearing 180 calves to beef
Pat Bowden and his family will host a Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef farm walk on their farm near Lisdowney, Co Kilkenny on Wednesday, March 21 starting at 11am.
The event will focus on Pat's system of production, calf rearing and health, spring grassland management and financial performance.
Prior to joining the Teagasc Green Acres calf to beef programme, the Bowdens ran a suckler to beef farm.
A few years ago they started rearing some Friesian bull calves to increase stocking rate and output. These bulls were castrated and sold as steers between 26 and 30 months of age.
Having built up the numbers of calves reared to approx 70 in 2014, Pat decided to reduce down the number of suckler cows and concentrate more on the dairy calf to beef enterprise.
Calves are bought in at two to four weeks of age and reared on milk replacer, straw, fresh water plus concentrate for the first ten weeks and then go to grass for their first grazing season receiving one kg of concentrate.
They are housed in mid to late November and fed silage and concentrates. Level of concentrate supplementation was based on the quality of the silage.
The Friesian steers are stored over the first winter with a target average daily gain of 0.6kgs per day.