Fermanagh Grassland Club’s new season got off to a great start last week with a farm walk hosted by Allan Brady, who manages one of the designated Focus Farms in the county.

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Allan, farms with his family at Calkhill, Florencecourt, and his various enterprises attracted over 70 members of the Club on the outing.

The Club members, led by Chairman, Harry O’Neill and secretary, William Johnston, used trailers as Allan led the way around the farm with various stops to look at certain batches of cattle. His attention to detail, focus on quality and his endeavour to strive for easy calving in his suckler herd was evident.

Allan runs the farming enterprise with his wife, Margaret, assisted by Christopher who is full-time and Matthew, part-time while being a student at Greenmount Campus. Allan’s father, Charlie, also plays an integral part in the running of the farm business.

The family farm 370 acres of which 236 acres are rented or leased on mostly heavy clay land. Stocking Rate is 1.33 cow equivalent per hectare.

The average number of cows in the suckler herd is 70 producing weanlings and finished cattle.

He has used Embryo Transfer on five cows and calves have been born since June 2009, being performance recorded through Signet

In-calf heifers have been calved to Curragh Matthew (AA).

The 30 Spring calving cows are AI’d at grass with a calving index of 403 days. Male calves were sold in March at 10 months while females are kept for replacements or finished. The first 11 males sold in 2009 averaged £799/head.

The batch of 40 autumn calving cows are mostly BB cows with AA calves used for ease of calving and low cost finishing supplied to Linden Foods.

Second calvers are served to an easy calving Belgian Blue; EDJ and JOK. EDJ has 5 stars for calving traits and also for calving difficulty. JOK has 5 stars for suckler beef value, weanling and calf quality.

Allan’s farm is benchmarked and his net margin is in the top 25 per cent.

Allan is an enthusiastic supporter of the environment and is involved in Countryside Management Schemes. He has been in the ESA Scheme for 14 years and habitats include wetlands, breeding wader sites and trees, lapwings and whooper swans.

His is the only farm in Northern Ireland with white fronted geese.

The indoor programme of Fermanagh Grassland Club begins in October and runs through to March 2011

 

Farmer Allan Brady (right) and his wife Margaret, discussing the stock on his farm at Calkill, Florencecourt with (from left) William Johnston, secretary of Fermanagh Grassland Club and Harry O’Neill, chairman.