Eddie_Connell

As a new member of the grassland council I am farming in Clonbullogue County Offaly in partnership with my son Aidan and my wife Bernadette. We farm 90 hectares 25 of which are on a long term lease, our farming system is mainly cattle and sheep with some tillage to produce grain for our own requirements. We have a flock of 350 ewes and sell 560 to 600 lambs through the Offaly Lamb Producer Group. Our policy is to source hogget ewes from reliable sources rather than our own replacements as it simplifies our system.

We also buy 150 to 180 weanling bulls 350 to 400 kg mainly in the autumn and finish them, some from the shed in the spring but preferably after getting 100 days at grass or else fed from early September in the shed. Traditionally we bought store cattle and weanlings and run them as bullocks but now find that the bulls are much more efficient. Sourcing the right quality is becoming a bigger problem as the influence of dairy genetics is having a detrimental effect on quality.

I have been closely involved in policy making with the Offaly group for the past 25 years and served as its Chairman for 5 years. Also I am involved with a purchasing group of 35 farmers in Monasterevin Co. Kildare , comprising of tillage, dairy and livestock members who purchase farm imputs, electricity and banking as a group.

Aidan is a great influence and is very innovative on the engineering side always trying new ideas to make life simpler and safer around the farm. He won the top prize in labour saving competition in Tullamore show in 2015 with a fast simple system of splitting paddocks which we use to great effect at home. At the moment he has drawn up plans for a new specialist sheep shed which we plan to have in operation for winter 2018.

We have two other sons David who is an engineer based in Cork and Eamonn who runs his own web design business locally.