Roscommon farmer on switching from suckling to calf to beef system
Roscommon farmer Christy Dowd has increased output since switching to a calf to beef system, writes Gordon Peppard
THREE years ago Christy Dowd faced several challenges on his beef farm near Tulsk, Co Roscommon.
The system he was operating just wasn't profitable enough. The output was low and the suckler system was costing too much. The land was fragmented and cash flow was poor.
However, much has changed since he joined the Teagasc Acres Calf to Beef programme in 2015, as will be seen when he hosts a Teagasc Green Acres farm walk next week.
The event will focus on Christy's system of production, animal health and performance, grassland management and the physical/financial stance of his farm.
Prior to joining the programme, Christy had a herd of 40 suckler cows, selling bull calves at nine to 12 months of age and heifers as stores at 18 months.
Christy decided in early 2015 that he was going to introduce a calf to beef system to increase output. The stocking rate was increased with the purchase of approximately 50 Angus/Hereford heifer calves.
The idea was that the suckler cow numbers would be reduced as the calf to beef number increased.
The calves were bought in at two to three weeks of age and reared on an automatic milk feeder, straw, fresh water plus concentrate for the first 10 weeks, and then went to grass for their first grazing season, receiving 1kg of concentrate.