Patrick Grennan farms out of the Kennedy Homestead outside Newross in Wexford. His approach and philosophy echoes the famous JF Kennedy ethos “think what you can do not what others can do for you”.
Having completed the Farm Apprentice Scheme, Patrick took over the family farm on a part time basis in 2001. In the preceding years the land had been rented so over a number of years Patrick took back the land and built up a suckler herd.
Today Patrick is operating 26 owned and 7 rented hectares, the land is in grass except for a small acreage of spring barley. The farm is carrying 36 spring calving suckler cows, up from 20 in 2007, with the intention of going to 40. All males are brought to slaughter as young bulls, heifers are either taken to slaughter or kept as replacements. The cows are handy easy care Limousin crosses. They are milky and easy to manage. Patricks stock bull was sourced locally from the Galbally Herd, he is from a good dam line and has Milbrook Tanko and Mas Du Clo on the sires side. Cow type and bull selection was based on a desire to have quality combined with an easy care system. Experiences as a farm apprentice highlighted the benefits of hardy easily calved Limousins. The Galbally bull is docile, very good on his feet and giving both shape and weight for age.
Patrick is a firm believer in discussion groups and Herd Plus and uses these forums to better himself and his herd. Through the discussion group and its facilitator Teagascs Michael Fitzgerald a Herd Health programme is in place, early and compact calving is practiced, and high output from grass is being achieved.
The farm is achieving 725 kg of output per Hectare, up from 555 kg in 2007 with stocking rate having increased from 1.37 to 2.02. Heifers are now calving at two and a herd calving spread of just over six weeks has been achieved. Patrick attributes these performance levels to an easy care cow, stocking rate, sire choice, calf growth and easy finishing. From the discussion group output from grass is key, grass is measured and strip grazed and calves graze ahead of the cows by the use of two high wire fencing stakes.
The bulls are killed at fifteen months, lifetime meal is around 1.3mt. During finishing meal levels start low rising to about 10kg of a home mix split over three feeds at the end.
The 2010 born bulls were killed in April and May of 2011with and average grade of U+3- at 390kg, all grades were E or U with nice fat cover. This highlights the carcase quality and feed efficiency of the Limousin breed. This is the weight, conformation and age that the market is looking for in young bulls.