Glorious Sunshine Greets Ugs Meeting

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), May 6, 2000 | Go to article overview

Glorious Sunshine Greets Ugs Meeting


THE Ulster Grassland Society's summer meeting took place in glorious sunshine on Tuesday when an enthusiastic group of members and friends from across the Province enjoyed two interesting and informative farm visits in South Antrim and North-East Armagh.

Organisers were particularly pleased to welcome a significant number of new faces to this popular event as well as several visitors from the Republic of Ireland.

In the morning the host farmers were George and Gavin Hayes at Upper Ballinderry.

Here visitors were welcomed by UGS president, David Wallace, who introduced the hosts before Gavin Hayes gave a detailed outline of the farm and current policy.

A total of 279 acres are farmed to support a 40-cow beef herd, finishing beef cattle and a ewe flock of around 140 sheep.

The farm is located some 350ft above sea level in a picturesque area with excellent views of several counties with soil type generally described as heavy loam.

Primary farm objectives are maximising returns from beef cattle by a sensible purchasing policy and utilisation of home-grown cereals and available cheap inputs and maintaining an effective reseeding policy as a means of farm improvement.

Continental X cows are mated to a Simmental stock bull or Continental bulls via AI with bulls selected with emphasis on muscling. Most of the beef cattle purchased are also Continental crosses although emphasis is placed on purchasing well rather than a particular type or stage of animal.

The sheep flock is based on Suffolk X Cheviot ewes mated to a Texel ram with lambing commencing mid-March and lambs sold generally liveweight through Allam's Mart in Crumlin.

Visitors were able to see at first hand many of the improvements undertaken by the Hayes, since they acquired the farm approximately 10 years ago, during a tour of the steading prior to a walk to see the sheep flock and areas of grazing and silage swards.

During the farm tour visitors were also given a presentation by Dr David Patterson, from Greenmount College, on the farm's participation in a Precision Nutrient Management Project which has been running for the past three years.

Conclusions drawn from this study, which aims to optimise nutrient inputs bearing in mind soil fertility, availability of poultry manure on the farm and environmental aspects, stated that farmers could make financial and environmental savings without incurring yield loss.

At the conclusion of an excellent tour, during which visitors gained a fascinating insight into the farms development a vote of thanks was proposed by UGS past president, Dr Raymond Steen. …

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