Summer Meeting 2021

‘Virtual’ Summer Meeting

The 2021 BGS Summer Meeting will take place online, and will provide a ‘Flavour of Farming in Ulster’. The four farms on the virtual tour will demonstrate the commitment and enthusiasm of the farming families and the emphasis they place on grassland management to improve the profitability and sustainability of their farm businesses.

The Summer Meeting will take the form of two free webinars on the evenings of Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 June 2021, starting at 7.30 pm. Videos of the featured farms will be shown, and there will be an opportunity to ask the farmers questions about their farming systems. The Q&A sessions will be chaired by BGS President Drew McConnell.

Booking is now open

A very warm “virtual” welcome awaits you in June, but an even warmer welcome will greet you when we (hopefully) meet in person for the summer tour 2022.

The following CPD points are available for each evening: DairyPro (3 points), RoSA (1 point), BASIS (1 point) 

Day 1 (Tuesday 29 June, 7.30 pm) will feature visits to beef and sheep farms.

Day 2 (Wednesday 30 June, 7.30 pm) will focus on dairy farms.

We would be pleased to welcome you to both sessions, but you must book on to each one separately. 

Details of the farms to be visited are given below.

Day 1 – Beef and sheep farms

Kettyle Family Farm, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh

Robert Kettyle’s 138 ha farm in Co. Fermanagh includes Dernish Island in Upper Lough Erne which accounts for almost 50% of the grazing area. The suckler herd has recently moved to using Aberdeen Angus sires on the Simmental X cows. Cattle are finished and slaughtered on average at 27 months old. Recently cow numbers have been reduced and a dairy origin-beef enterprise has been introduced. Agri-environment management is an important aspect of the farm business.

To read more about the farm, click here.

Henderson Family Farm, Kilkeel, Co Down

James Henderson farms in partnership with wife Brenda and son Scott. The 60 ha family farm is located along the east coast near Kilkeel, with a clear view of the mountains of Mourne. The farm has a dairy-origin beef enterprise of around 90 Aberdeen Angus/British Blue heifer calves purchased at 2-3 weeks of age and finished at 2 years. The Rouge X Texel sheep flock is made up of 250 ewes and 70 ewe lambs, mated to a Primera ram.

For further details of the farm, click here.

Day 2 – Dairy farms

O’Neill Family Farm, Artigarvan, Co Tyrone

The 106 ha O’Neill family farm is situated 4 miles from Strabane in the rolling hills of North Tyrone. Albert and his brother Wesley farm in partnership with their parents. The main enterprise is a herd of 200 autumn/winter calving Holstein X Montbeliarde cows.The rolling herd average is currently 9,300 litres, with 3800 litres from forage. The O’Neill Farm is an Agrisearch Grasscheck farm, measuring grass during the grazing season with regular grass forage analysis also provided and weather data recorded through a weather station on the farm.

For further details of the farm, click here.

Cochrane Family Farm, Bushmills, Co Antrim

Alastair Cochrane, wife Phyllis, and sons Conor and Alexander farm 230ha at Glentask, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, overlooking the stunning North Antrim coastline between Portrush and Bushmills. The dairy herd has  recently expanded to 400 milking cows. The herd is self-contained and maintains a tight autumn calving pattern. Milk yield is 9100 litres/cow at 4.30% BF and 3.40% Protein. Originally a Holstein herd, the cows are now crossed to Montbeliarde to improve health, fertility and milk quality.

To read more about the farm, click here.