Cork students set to cash in after angus beef schools competition
Mark Shorten and Conor Lehane have been keeping busy since being awarded five Irish Angus cross calves last year as part of the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition.
They were presented three bullocks and two heifers with an average weight of 230kg, at the National Ploughing Championships.
Mark has been keeping them on his home dairy farm and kept them with their maiden heifers since. They also wanted to show that out wintering Irish Angus cattle was a viable option for dairy farmers, proving you don’t need the shed space to keep them.
“We kept ours in a paddock of kale and redstart and fed them baled silage for fibre all through the winter,” said Mark. The cattle have been outdoors since they have arrived on the farm in Newcestown.
Since receiving the animals last September, Conor and Mark have been weighing and carrying-out dung samples from the cattle monthly. Conor and Mark carried out dung sampling to avoid any unnecessary or overuse of dosing.
At their August 5 weigh-in, the two heifers weighed an average 433kg and the three bullocks weighed 505kg. The five cattle were bred from dairy cows.
“We expect them to be ready for slaughter by the end of October – start of November,” said Conor.
The two students from Newcestown and Timoleague represented St Brogans College in the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition 2016 during transition year. After being narrowed down from 160 schools nation-wide, 5 schools were chosen to complete the project.
They were given “Certified Irish Angus Beef from the dairy herd” as a theme for their project and the two are encouraging farmers to breed Irish Angus calves from the dairy herd.
Speaking about their journey in the competition to date Mark and Conor both agreed they have received invaluable experience.
Mark and Conor travelled to Amsterdam with the Irish Angus Producers Group along with their processing partner’s ABP Ireland and Kepak Group. Here they were shown the Albert Heijn head office, Hilton Food Group and a veal farm.
The overall winner will be announced in Croke Park next March and will be awarded a prize of €2000. The winner will be chosen based on their projects and reports that they have been completing since receiving the calves.
The annual competition also supports transition year students without farming backgrounds. The Irish Angus Producer Group can assign farmers to rear the calves if the students do not have the facilities.
During the year, the two have also held several events to raise awareness about Certified Irish Angus Beef and about the Irish Angus breed.
These events include having a stand at the local Bandon show, holding raffles, inviting agricultural students to their farm, an information day at Bandon mart where Certified Irish Angus beef was on the menu at the restaurant, and a Certified Irish Angus Beef themed night where they raised €1600 for Cancer Connect.
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