Friday the 19th & Saturday 20th of June a group of Strangford Down sheep farmers & in conjunction with Linden Foods went on two farm visits in Co. Westmeath & Co. Galway and the Sheep 2015 Event in Athenry.
The first farm visited was that of Yvonne & Gordon Johnston in Co. Westmeath, they run 650 breeding ewes and finish all the lambs. The focus was to illustrate their good grassland management and the impact it had on ewes and lambs from birth to weaning in that it provided good milk supply to the ewes and excellent growth rates in the lambs.
The second visit was to Dierdre & Richard Bourne in Co. Galway. This was more an intensive farm showing a mixture of enterprises. 1500 acre farm with 1500 intensive bull beef finished (30 per week), 65% of their bulls are bought directly off farm and 35% from livestock marts. 150 steers & 150 heifers are also finished. The sheep enterprise consists of 1500 breeding ewes with all the lambs finished on the farm.
Around 400 acres of cereals and 200 acres of sugar beet and maize are also grown. There is also a contracting business on the farm carrying out combing of cereals, sugar beet washing and chopping for a number of farmers in their area.
Saturday 20th brought a cloudy morning bighting up with the Sheep 2015 in Teagasc Mellow Campus Athenry Co. Galway. This was the biggest Sheep event in Ireland with a focus on providing farmers and retailer’s advice to make them more efficient and profitable. Teagasa joined the organising by Board Bia, Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, Irish Farmers Journal, Sheep Ireland and University College Dublin.