East Tyrone group enjoy guided farm tours
THE East Tyrone Group concluded their Winter Programme on a high with the final meeting of the season being a joint visit with South Derry Group to Donnelly Brothers Dungannon showroom and garage facilities.
The group were given a guided tour of the premises and informed how both Donnelly’s and UFU members have benefited over the years from the Landrover discount which is available to them. It is understood at least one landrover was sold that night.
The group trip took place on Friday 4th May 2012, and saw a large number of members travelling to enjoy picturesque Co Down. First stop of the day was at Cool Brae Farm, Kircubbin, to meet Mr Sam Chesney, 2011 UK Beef Farmer of the year.
Sam gave a very warm welcome and from the moment he started to speak proved why he was UK Beef Farmer of the year. Sam alongside his father farms 150 Limousin suckler cows, mated to British Blue or Aberdeen Angus bulls, grazes store lambs over the winter period, and harvests 15 acres of winter wheat per year.
Sam provided a comprehensive talk and tour of the farm to the group on the management of his herd.
He is on the button with every single aspect of his business including using accurate data, costs and benchmarking to guide how to adapt his production system. Cool Brae Farm has an impressive focus on maximising efficiency, good grassland management and this is reflected in its excellent production figures.
Sam believes having a good focus on herd health, grassland management and good genetics is key to his success.
It has been this focus that has enabled him to adjust and overcome spiralling input prices, securing a profit in a country where producers are often loosing £400/cow on average.
Sam has had to make changes to the efficiency of his production as he has no control over the price of beef. This has included putting a herd health plan in place and providing quality forage to his animals in order to reduce significantly the volume of meal he has to feed to the herd.
The group then travelled into Greyabbey to the newly opened Harrisons Farm Shop for lunch. All had a superb lunch and were impressed with facilities and beautiful views across the countryside from the restaurant.
The group then travelled to Corrie’s of Drumnilla Farm. This farm is one the most progressive beef farms in Northern Ireland farming around 1200 acres between the beef unit and dairy unit at Smeddiehill Dairy.
While visiting Smeddiehill Dairy the group were given an extensive tour of the facilities by Richard Corrie and Farm Manager Clifford Carswell. Richard and Clifford explained key areas of the enterprise including milking routine, data and production recording, forage production and calving indexes.
The Corrie family also have diversified their business into Corrie Meats owning four butchers shop in the Co Down area. At Drumnilla farm the beef unit is operated and the main Butchers Farm Shop is located here. On this site the Corrie Family rear, slaughter, process and sell their own beef produce. All members thoroughly enjoyed this most impressive expanding family business.
A great day was enjoyed by all members which was concluded by enjoying an evening meal at Corrs Corner, Newtownabbey.
The East Tyrone Winter Programme is well under way for 2012/2013.
The programme will incorporate many key issues affecting members and the farming community at present such as CAP Reforms, Rural Crime and issues regarding the Beef Industry.
The first meeting of the season will take place in October in the Royal Hotel Cookstown. This will be a joint meeting with the South Derry Group when Mr Jim Nicholson MEP will address the members on current agricultural issues being discussed at the European Parliament.
A reminder to all members please keep a copy of your Winter Programme for the year ahead and contact the office to provide a mobile number to ensure you receive notification by text of meetings over the winter period, as paper invitations will no longer be issued.
For any queries please do not hesitate to contact the office on 028 867 62632.
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Weather for Belfast
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east