College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Beef Fertility Technology Demonstration Farmer (TDF) Oliver McKenna from Eskra, Co Tyrone was one of the first beef farmers in Northern Ireland to be appointed as a TDF. To date, he has hosted almost 20 farm groups on many aspects of how he farms including fertility management.
Oliver runs a 40 suckler cow enterprise on his 27 hectare farm. He operates a closed herd of mainly Limousin, Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Simmental cross cows, rearing his own replacements and finishing male calves as bulls with surplus heifers being sold in calf. Oliver has been using 100% AI on his farm for a number of years and has introduced a series of technologies to aid fertility management.
Oliver said: “I recognise that I need to get the best out of my farm as it is relatively small, I can achieve this through a high stocking rate [ currently 2.61CE/HA] and also excellent cow fertility (calving index is 369 days). I am passionate about farming and since coming home from college I have been able to increase stocking and profitability rates significantly as a result of producing and utilising more grass and improving cow fertility. This has been achieved through a range of technologies, including using a herd health plan, pre breeding health checks, pregnancy diagnosis, the: ‘Sensehub beef system’, performance recording on farm and performance recorded sires. I am also excited about being a TDF Beef Fertility management farmer as I really enjoy hosting groups of farmers. I am looking forward to having other groups of farmers visit my farm in the months ahead.”
Details of all TDFs including Oliver’s and how to book a visit are available on the CAFRE website.
At the moment CAFRE is taking group bookings only by emailing email@example.com.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union fund the Business Development Groups Scheme and the establishment of Technology Demonstration Farms across Northern Ireland under the Innovation Technology Evaluation Demonstration (ITED) Scheme, as part of the Rural Development Programme.
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