Farmer Focus Livestock: Charles Armstrong likes what he sees in Ireland

Minimal rain and recent hot, muggy weather brought silage-making to a standstill. Instead we ploughed out 35 acres of fodder beet and re-sowed with stubble turnips, because dry weather hindered growth. Kale is also slow to emerge and may also have to be re-sown.

Plans to plough out up to 150 acres of grass for winter sheep feed is off the cards. Clover seed will instead be spun on top of silage aftermaths and these will hopefully grow.

Just when you think you are on top of everything, fly strike appears, with everything likely to be treated. The weather has also caused a headache with pneumonia in cattle, as you struggle to see in the shed for mist.

Poor visibility has proved helpful to thieves, with quad bikes,Land Rovers, diesel and tools all disappearing from local farms.

A recent trip to Northern Ireland and the Republicmade me realise the MPs there know how to fill out forms. This benefits the farmers as there are new houses in almost every field, grants to plant clover because it aids the environment, as well as a loss of income payment for cattle being culled out with TB, as well as the normal compensation.

The cattle we saw were of mixed breeding, but top quality. The Charolais was the preferred sire and the calves were excellent. Sheep farming wasn’t as prominent and was on a smaller scale to England.

A morning spent at Teagasc was my highlight. Anyone serious about profit from grass or cattle should look at their independent research.

Visiting a beef fattening unit in Northern Ireland made us aware they face the same problems as ourselves. We also visited the Linden Foods abattoir, where there were about seven different nationalities working, making communication hard. Thank you to everyone, especially DEFRA, which funded the tour.

See more