Why this farmer switched to buying weanlings instead of calves
In the past two years, Alan McDonnell has switched from buying in dairy cross bull calves to now buying them in as weanlings.
For the 10 previous years or so, the calves he was buying in all ended up grading O.
But because of changes in the dairy herd when the end of the quota regime was looming into view, he was finding that around 30pc of them were grading P. Hence the switch.
"If you buy a calf a few weeks old that's been fed lots of milk there could be a great bloom on him," whereas, a few months later, "he will be more developed and you will be able to get a better idea of what he really looks like".
On top of that, Alan found he was able to buy weanlings of around 230kg for €300-€320.
He sources all his stock in local marts.
Alan farms 120 acres, including some leased, on which he finishes around 200 head of stock a year, which all go to Kepak.