CAFRE Dairy Feed Efficiency Technology Demonstration Farmer (TDF) Chris Catherwood from the Ards Peninsula, Co Down recently welcomed a group of South Down dairy farmers to his farm where he got the chance to explain many aspects of how he farms including feed efficiency.
Chris farms in a profit share agreement with the Rankin family, managing a herd of 235 dairy cows which are calved in a tight spring block system, commencing in February each year. A high emphasis is placed on maximising milk from grazed grass, focusing on grass measurement, soil fertility and herd fertility. The herd is also fed a TMR in the dry period over winter.
Chris said: “I decided to apply to become a TDF farmer and was delighted to be appointed in 2021 as I really enjoy hosting groups of farmers. I always find it stimulating to be questioned by other likeminded farmers which generally leads to good discussion and a two way flow of information and knowledge. The South Down group were no exception and it was great to host them on such a lovely day.”
Stuart Orr chairman of the South Down BDG group said: “It was a privilege to be able to visit such a well-run farm and we were appreciative of the time that Chris spent with us and his openness to go into such detail when answering all of the many questions that were put to him. As they say, every day is a learning day and we certainly went home from the visit with much food for thought.”
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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