- Date: 18 Oct 2022
- Venue: Beckett farm Donacloney, Co Down
The Ulster Grassland Society held its 2022 autumn meeting on the dairy farm of John, Karen and Claire Beckett, Donacloney with a large turnout of over150 members attending.
Claire Beckett outlined the history of the farm which had been purchased by her grandfather from an uncle in the 1950s with dairy farming the main enterprise since then Apart from a period in the 1980s when milk production ceased.
Today the 200-acre farm supports a dairy herd of 150 Holstein cows with around 90 replacement heifers and 37 acres of cereals grown annually.
She outlined the four main farm objectives which are:
- increased output from the land
- grow and utilise more grass
- make high quality silage
- have a clear vision for the farm, what is achievable integrating family and work life balance
The farm tour, led by Claire Beckett Included stops featuring dry cow management, calf rearing, milking cow management, grassland management and grazing for low yielding cows.
The herd currently yields 10,322 litres with 3,173 litres produced from forage on 3,217 kgs concentrates fed per cow. Milk quality is also important with the herd currently achieving 4.13% butterfat and 3.28% protein and an average Somatic Cell Count of 113 (‘000/ml).
Paddocks are pre-mowed every round from the second round onwards with grass measured every 5-7 days and grass quality tested throughout the season.
Lunch for the visit was kindly sponsored by Fane Valley, Masons Animal Feeds, Trouw Nutrition and Yara.