2017 Summer Sheep Farm Visit

 

UGS visitors to the Causeway coast enjoyed an evening of fine weather at the host farm of Eoin McCambridge. In welcoming the UGS, Eoin outlined the development of the Ballynaglogh farm which now stocks 500 breeding ewes along with 15 hectares of short term rotation coppice willow and a hydro electric system.

Visitors saw some of the sheep flock on nearby grazing and Eoin explained why he changed his breed type “The move to Belclare and Lleyn breeding has definitely produced more lambs this year, with an easier to care ewe, and should improve output per hectare”. The importance of correct condition was also emphasized by Eoin with a diet feeding system in operation when the flock is housed in late December to allow more accurate feeding to the various groups. Eoin has recently adopted a rotational grazing system with portable electric fences. All reseeding is carried out with an APV spring tine seeder and the plough is no longer used. Mid and late PRGs are used with small/medium clover and visitors were impressed with the quality of the swards. Chickweed is the main weed problem in reseeds but is controlled through spot spraying. Fertiliser is applied on a ‘little and often’ approach with 1 bag/acre of straight N sowed every 6-7 weeks, with a compound applied in late summer in line with soil analysis.

The willow planting has been in a number of years and gaps are now starting to appear which Eoin intends to replant this winter. A small number of varieties are used to minimise the spread of disease eg rust. The crop can produce 10-20 t DM/ha and is dried in a purpose built fully computerised on-floor drying system before being used in a wood chip boiler to produce electricity.

Last stop on the visit was to the Crossflow turbine installed in 2007. The farm has had a long history of producing hydro electricity and the newer turbine has enabled Eoin to maximise the output from the Carey river, with an average of 200,000Kwh of electricity annually.

 

Eoin McCanbridge outlining his farm business
Eoin McCanbridge outlining his farm business

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Eoin McCanbridge outlining his farm business
Eoin explains his sheep management details to an attentive audience
Visitors hear about his grassland management
Some of the sheep flock
Ewes and lambs
Willow growth after one year

 

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