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Niall O Meara, Co. Galway has recently been crowned national commerical herd winner of the inaugrual ‘FBD EuroStar €200’ competition

Niall O Meara was crowned national commerical herd winner of the FBD €200 replacement index herd competition which took place in conjunction with the inaugrual ICBF & Sheep Ireland Genetics conference at the Hodson Bay Hotel earlier this month. Niall took the overall award having won the Connaught/Ulster title earlier in the night. The munster commerical herd winnner was Ger Dineen, Macroom, Co. Cork while Ruairí Cummins, Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny was crowned Leinster commerical herd winner.

Niall O’Meara farms full-time on his 70 acre farm just outside the village of Killimor in east Galway. The farm has 50 sucklers and weanlings are sold at 12 months.

Niall O Meara (left), Co. Galway, national commerical herd winner of the FBD €200 replacement index herd competition pictured with Michael Berkery (FBD).

Niall concentrates on breeding, health and grass, three very important areaa for a profitable beef  enterprise. For the past five years, the farm has been consistently achieving a calving interval of less than 370 days and over one calf per cow per year. Nial has a target weight of 500kg at 12 months and has been consistently achieving this for the last few years. The farm has some impressive performance figures, including a gross margin of €875 in 2017.

The farm has been using 100% AI up until last year. A Simmental bull was purchased this year that was high on both the replacement and terminal indices. Niall concentrates on the replacement index when selecting sires and bull used include OCD, ISL, Biouvac and SI2469.

“I use maternal AI bulls and it gives me options. There is only one route for terminal-sired animals. I admit I may be taking 10-20cent/kg less for them but our sale weights make up for this.”

Niall is a big believer in grassland management. He has made huge progress in recent years in grazing management and has recently layed new roadways and increased the number of paddocks on the farm. He also uses pigtails and reels to further divide paddocks during peak grazing periods.

“I think BDGP has got a lot of bad press and I don’t think it deserves it. I can see myself making progress on this farm and what other country would pay you for making progress,”

Niall has been a participant in BDGP from the start and he is also a participant in the Knowledge Transfer Discussion Group Programme.