- Date: 16 Jun 2010
- Venue: Glenarm Castle Estate
Approximately 70 members and friends of the Ulster Grassland Society (UGS) enjoyed a truly memorable afternoon on the Glenarm Estate farm where beautiful scenery provided the backdrop to impressive swards and livestock. Estate Manager, Adrian Morrow, gave a fascinating insight into the estate where he had been brought up as a son of the farm manager.
He recalled how the walled garden, one of the oldest in Ireland, was previously used as a sick bay for stock on the farm! The garden, now reinstated with a magnificent selection of flowers and specimen plants, looked wonderful in the Autumn sunshine.
Farm manager, Bryan Wilson, shared a wealth of experience during the farm tour. Following a decision to convert the farm to organic production considerable efforts have been made to introduce clover based swards. Visitors were most impressed with the quality and quantity of herbage produced without nitrogen fertiliser from the red clover based swards. Local CAFRE beef and sheep adviser, Mike McCorry, said that soil analysis will be taken this winter to keep track of soil pH, phosphate and potash status so that adjustments can be made to nutrient applications if necessary.
White clover based swards sown with perennial ryegrass looked very productive. A Guttler Greenmaster airseeder has been used for stitching. Members were left in no doubt that there is scope to make more use of clover on many farms.
The majority of the lambs bred from 220 ewes were already finished. These are taken to weights of 21 – 24 kg and sold to specialist outlets through Hannan Meats, Moira. Lambing gets underway in mid-February and ewes are never housed.
The suckler herd comprises 100 mainly Continental crossbred cows, half of which are spring calving, the other half autumn calving. As part of the desire to farm for flavour a Shorthorn bull was purchased in Perth and is used to produce cattle which will exhibit good growth and fleshing with plenty of marbling. Shorthorn heifers have been retained and 10 Black Baldies (Angus x Hereford) maiden heifers purchased this year and run with a Shorthorn bull. Bullocks have been finished at 350 – 400 kg carcase weight and heifers at 290 – 320 kg. The only stock to receive meal feeding are cattle finishing out of the house which receive less than 250 kg / head.
Glenarm organic beef is available in the Merchant, Stormont and Culloden Hotels. Glenarm would be happy to talk to others with Organic Shorthorn beef about the potential to market together. This year Glenarm Meat has won 2 Great Taste Gold Awards. These National awards are organised by the Guild of Fine Foods. Participants in the UGS farm walk had an opportunity to sample Glenarm Organic Shorthorn beef, lamb and salmon in a delicious barbeque prepared by Simply Irresistible. Those present were able to verify that that Glenarm Estates are successfully farming for flavour.