Ulster Grassland Society Dairy Farm Walk

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Tuesday 22nd June 2010

Dear Irish Grassland Association Member

The Ulster Grassland Society’s spring meeting is a visit to John O’Neill & family’s dairy farm at 44 Ballylaw Road, Artigarvan, Strabane on Tuesday 22 June at 11:00am. A cup of tea/coffee will be available on arrival with the farm walk commencing at 11:30am.

We will be hosted by John O’Neill and his sons Wesley and Albert who farm a total of 350 acres. The farm has light soils and was previously a mixed farm (arable, beef and dairy) but they have concentrated on expanding the dairy herd in recent years. There are about 25 acres of maize grown and this will be ensiled to form part of the cows’ ration during the winter months along with grass silage. This year four varieties of maize have been sown; Award, Krosus, Aureli and Surprise.

Grassland management is of a high standard and there is a farm policy for regular reseeding and use of lime. A soil aerator is often used to reduce compaction and to optimise grass growth. A slurry separator has been installed and is used to separate the solids from the liquid fractions of the slurry. The liquid is stored in a covered above-ground slurry store and is spread onto grass swards, while the solids are ploughed down on the maize ground.

The business consists of around 190 crossbred cows and followers – Holstein crossed with Montebeliard - and has a herd average of around 8000 litres. Sexed semen is used on the herd.

The family are also interested in machinery and have developed a number of innovative pieces of equipment on the farm over the years. Some of these include a slurry dribble bar, a clover dispenser into the slurry tanker, a machine for grading the top surface of new lane ways and a mobile calf crate. A number of these inventions have earned the family awards through the Irish Farmers Journal and Farmers Weekly competitions. The slurry dribble bar will be on display during the farm walk.

Directions
1. From the East take M2 and travel to Dungiven or Claudy and follow signs for Dunamanagh. From Dunamanagh take the Strabane road and a short distance (400-500 m) before the village of Artigarvan take a road on the right – Ballylaw road (will be signposted).
2. From the West travel through Strabane onto the Derry Road and follow the signs for Artigarvan/Dunamanagh. Through Artivarvan short distance turn left onto Ballylaw road. Alternatively continue on the Strabane /Derry Road to Burndennet Bridge (as below).
3. From the North East take the Derry to Strabane Road to Burndennet Bridge and turn left and follow the Ulster Grassland Society signs (Also sign for ‘Moyagh Trout Fishery’ )

Animal Health and Biosecurity
To prevent the spread of disease between farms it is essential that you have CLEAN WELLINGTON BOOTS AND CHANGE OF CLOTHES FROM THOSE, WHICH YOU USE ON YOUR FARM.

Please return the Booking Form to me by Friday 18 June at the latest.
Address: The Secretary, Ulster Grassland Society, 8 Green Crescent, Knock, Belfast, BT5 6JE.

To download booking form please - click here

Your President and Executive Committee look forward to seeing you. There is a lot of very useful information to be gleaned from this visit so I would ask you to make every effort to attend.

Yours sincerely
George Reid
Honorary Secretary
Ulster Grassland Society

 

Posted on Tuesday, 22 June 2010  |  By Irish Grassland Association
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