UGS visit to Omagh farm to focus on soil fertility

UGS President Mark Blelock (left) with host farm manager Cathal McAlear
UGS President Mark Blelock (left) with host farm manager Cathal McAlear

As a follow on to their recent conference which was based on the theme ‘Growing and Utilising more grass – where does it all begin’, the Ulster Grassland Society visit on Wednesday 27th April is focusing on soil fertility as the basis of efficient milk production.

The visit is being hosted by the Cunningham family at Omagh who manage a 56 ha leased farm stocked with 140 dairy cows of New Zealand Friesian x Jersey breeding. These crossbred cows are spring calving and have been grazing full-time since 10th March.

Since taking over the farm there has been a focus on improving soil fertility and all the farm has been soil sampled with a fertiliser and liming programme in place. Seventy five acres have also been reseeded with the aim of increasing production to 14 tDM/ha over the next few years.

At the visit Stan Lalor of Grassland AGRO will discuss the value of improving soil fertility and farm manager Cahal McAlear will outline management of the soils to provide quality grazing for the herd which averages 6000 l/cow at 3.47% Butterfat and 4.26% Protein. Jason McMinn from Farmgate Consultancy Ltd will also consider some of the financial aspects and comparisons of the Cunningham’s spring and winter calving herds.

The farm walk will be located at 155 Crevenagh Road, Omagh, BT70 0HB, which is 4.5 miles from Omagh, off the Ballygawley Road . A cup of tea will be available on arrival with the farm walk commencing at 11.15am.

A barbeque meal will be available after the walk at a cost of £15 to non UGS members.

Those wishing to attend should contact the Secretary at 07920 037 910 by 21st April or for further information please email secretary@ulstergrassland.co.uk.