UGS visit Tyrone spring calving dairy herd


Tyrone dairy farmer Philip Clarke and his son David host a farm walk for 90 members and guests of the Ulster Grassland Society (UGS) on Thursday 20th April. The all grassland farm comprises 44 ha and has been in the family for 5 generations.  The main enterprise is an 80 dairy cow herd mainly NZ Fr x Jersey breed.  20 replacement heifers are reared each year and bull calves are sold within 10-14 days.

These crossbred cows are turned out during the day in early February and out full time from March when ground and grass growth permits.  The philosophy on the farm is to have a simple system.

The herd yield is around 5000 litres/cow with around 4200 litres from forage.  The stocking rate is 3.1 CE/ha on the grazing block and 2.3 CE/ha over the whole farm. Concentrates fed is 0.34 tonnes/cow. Milk composition is 4.30% butterfat and 3.51% protein.

UGS Annual Conference

“Turning Grass to Cash?”

Tuesday 24th January 2017


'Investing in grassland produces returns' was the recurring theme of the speakers at the recent annual Ulster Grassland Society’s Conference at the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim. A large crowd benefitted from the research and experience of the speakers who had a clear message that investing in grassland pays dividends.

Newly elected UGS President Sam Watson set the scene by highlighting the importance of a healthy soil, with correct nutrient status, to growing more grass. To benefit from this, Sam stressed that farmers must make excellent silage with good feed out practices to drive efficiency within their systems. Technologies to improve silage digestion should also allow producers to make more cash from grass.

Large turnout at UGS spring visit to Omagh – regardless of weather!


The wintry conditions of hail showers did not deter a large turnout of farmers at the UGS spring farm walk at Omagh. In welcoming the UGS, Cormac Cunningham outlined the development of the leased farm at Crevenagh and emphasized that the success of a lease depends on the landlords, quality of the land, availability of labour and selection of the most suitable type of stock.


Visitors saw the herd of NZ Fr/Jersey cows out grazing in a paddock system with areas selected on the basis of grass cover and ground conditions. Farm Manager Cathal McAlear emphasized the importance of cow type and using EBI bulls to raise milk protein levels and improve fertility. The spring calving herd is currently achieving M+18 litres/cow from grass, with 4kgs/hd of a 14% protein nut fed flat rate. Cathal told those attending “Meal levels will be cut to 2kg/cow/day in the next few days as grass analysis shows excellent quality at 24% protein and 12.4 ME. This will support M+24 l/cow. The herd is currently averaging 27 l/cow/day and I’m keeping a close eye on milk protein levels as this indicates if the cows are receiving enough energy”.

The 2106 UGS Annual Conference took place at a new venue, the Dunsilly Hotel Antrim on Tuesday 26th January.  The theme of the Conference was "Growing and Utilising more grass, where does it all begin?".  A large audience of around 200 heard 4 excellent presentations after the Society's Annual General Meeting. The new 2016 President Mark Blelock, presided over the conference.

Tremendous turnout for UGS farm walk

Rosslea suckler beef and sheep farmer John Egerton hosted an extremely successful farm walk for members for the Ulster Grassland Society (UGS) earlier this week.  The event provided a unique opportunity for visitors to see at first hand the implementation of exceptionally high grassland management standards within a beef and sheep context.

The Ulster Grassland Society’s spring meeting was a visit to the dairy farm of Pat Lavery, 20 Derryvore Lane Portadown, BT63 5RS, on Tuesday 5th May.  

A very wet morning did not detract a large crowd from attending Pat Lavery's farm.  The assembled crowd had a quick tour of the 60 ha farm to see the high standard of Pat's grassland management and to see the  90 cow dairy herd.  After the tour of the farm discussion took place indoors in much more comfort.




  Grow More Grass, Use More Grass!

This was the recurring theme of the speakers at the recent annual Ulster Grassland Society’s Conference at the RUAS Conference Centre, Balmoral. A large crowd benefitted from the research and experience of the speakers who had a clear message that more could be done to exploit the potential of grass.

The Ulster Grassland Society’s autumn dairy meeting was a visit to the dairy farm of Harold Johnston, Ballybollen House, 5 Clooney Road, Ahoghill, Co Antrim, on Wednesday 29th October and was attended by around 180 members and guests.

The 2014 autumn beef visit was to the farm of John and Jonathan Carson,  54 Ballyculter Road,  Downpatrick,  Co Down, BT30 7BD on Tuesday evening, 16th September. 

The Carsons farm a total of 166 ha (410
acres) of which 81 ha (200) are owne
d.  Approximately 14 ha of cereals are grown which are generally under-sown with a hybrid/red clover sward for either silage production or early grazing (lightly seeded) in the following spring. The farm is in  is in the Countryside Management Scheme.


Father and son team Jim and Dean Wright hosted a visit to their Co Armagh dairy farm for members of the Ulster Grassland Society on Thursday 19th June. The event was attended by over 70 members and guests who enjoyed a pleasant morning tour around the Wright farm.


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