Summer Meeting 2021

‘Virtual’ Summer Meeting

The 2021 BGS Summer Meeting took place online, and provided a ‘Flavour of Farming in Ulster’. The four farms on the virtual tour demonstrated 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 took the form of two webinars on the evenings of Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 June 2021. Videos of the featured farms were shown, and there was the opportunity to ask the farmers questions about their farming systems.

Day 1 featured visits to beef and sheep farms.

Day 2 focussed on dairy farms.

By clicking on the links below you can watch the full webinar, or the individual farm tours. (When prompted, you will need to enter your name and email address in order to view the videos).

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 view the farm tour on the BGS YouTube channel, click here

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.

To view the farm tour on the BGS YouTube channel, click here.

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.

To view the farm tour on the BGS YouTube channel, click here.

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 view the farm tour on the BGS YouTube channel, click here.

To read more about the farm, click here.