21 May 2022

Ballymahon farmers reveal reasons behind PastureBase move


Pictured are Ben Lynn along with Coleen Quinn, workplace student Teagasc Longford, Nicholas McKenna, Walsh Fellow Student Teagasc Longford Base Ireland PICTURE: Seán Doorley

“If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” A notable quote from Peter Drucker, a highly respected business consultant, author and educator.

Think about it for a moment. Say if you set yourself a goal of losing some weight this year, wouldn’t it be very difficult to manage your weight loss without stepping on the scales at some stage? Your performance needs to be measured to ensure you are on track to meet your target weight loss.

Measuring is very relevant in a lot of aspects in farming and grass measuring is seen by many farmers as essential in the management of that crop. A lot of farmers have become accustomed every year to carrying out a winter fodder budget. They calculate the quantity of feed available on the farm and count the stock to estimate feed demand.

Combined with the numbers of expected days of winter ahead, they are able to measure if there is a surplus or deficit of feed on the farm for the winter. Farmers do find winter feed budgeting a worthwhile practice and it is that very exercise that has help farmers come through difficult winters in the past. So should the adaption of measuring growing grass in the field during the grazing season not also be considered a very worthwhile exercise too?

This spring Ben & Conor Lynn, from Tang, Ballymahon have made the decision to join PastureBase Ireland (PBI). Ben & Conor Lynn are in Partnership since 2015.

Conor is a young trained farmer and it was during the completion of his Certificate in Agriculture course in Gurteen Agriculture College, that he became very interested in developing the grassland resources on the home farm.

They currently run a mixed beef and sheep enterprise with an overall stocking rate of 1.8L.U./ha. They run an early lamb production system, have spring calving suckler cows and purchase store heifers, with all animals finished on the farm.

They are also part of the Longford Beef Discussion Group run by Teagasc Adviser Sean Doorley in Longford. The pair completed some development work on part of the farm over the last three years and put in place a number of new paddocks and new water troughs.

The farm was soil sampled in 2016 for GLAS, a nutrient management plan was drawn up and they have applied fertiliser as recommended including applying lime in 2018. The farm will be soil sampled again in 2019.

Last autumn, an 18 acre section of the farm was closed up in rotation and on the 2nd of February 2019, they were able to let weanlings out six weeks earlier than normal.

Ben & Conor will start recording grass measurements on PBI this year on this part of their farm, choosing 7 paddocks where they will be grazing weanling heifers on a 21 day rotation during the main grazing season.

Conor says, “The main reason we joined PBI is we see grass measuring as the next step in the ladder to further exploit the grass resources on the farm and it will take the guesswork out of managing grass. We will hope to see the benefits such as identify paddocks with low annual tonnage of grass and hope to reseed them in the future.”

They are delighted to have made this first step and they plan to be measuring grass on the entire farm over the next few years.

Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers and have offices based in Roscommon Town (Tel: 090 6626166), Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160) and Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021).

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