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Michael McDonald


Location:Thomastown Co.Kilkenny

Farm size:60 Ha

System:Suckler to weanling


Michael farms part time with the help of his father John.The land is divided in two blocks the home farm which would be heavy ground while the land would be much drier on the out farm. Grazing infrastructure on the farm was poor but since the start of the programme a lot of work has been done putting paddocks and water system in place.The majority of the swards are old so a fair bit of reseeding will have to take place.

Currently Michael is running 70 autumn calving cows and the aim is to increase numbers to over 100.The plan is to sell male progeny as heavy bulls at 10 to 12 months of age and sell all his surplus heifers in calf in the autumn time of year.

Mandatory Challenges

  • Two tonne grass challenge - All farms to aim to increase by 2 Tonne/DM/ha
  • Farm finance challenge - Gross margin target €1250/ha on average
  • Farm safety challenge - Farms to introduce 2 positive changes annually

Optional Challenges

  • Breeding challenge - Increase average replacement value of herd by €20 over course of programme and meet all herd fertility targets
  • Soil fertility challenge - Aim for 70% of farm at index 3 P&K.Ph - aim for 6.1 (5.7 on peat soils)
  • Labour/structures challenge - Labour use focus/ Drystock farm partnership focus

Read more on the challenges


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Video update April 2018

Farm update May 2017

Farm update August 2017