Fermanagh Grassland Club has been presenting the awards to the winners of the grazing and silage competitions.

Normally the awards are made during the annual dinner in February but due to Covid-19 this had to be cancelled and the prizegiving was delayed until the easing of restrictions allowed the handover on winners’ farms.

The full list of winners as follows;

2020 Vaughan Trust Grazing Competition;

Dairying -1st Trevor Dunn (Stevenson Cup); 2nd James Murphy; 3rd, Nigel Graham and Gordon Elliott.

Non-dairying -1st Ivan Kettyle (Todd Cup); 2nd Lee Beacom; 3rd Fred Farrelly.

2020 Barenbrug UK Ltd Silage Competition;

Big bale -1st Graeme Rutledge (Hermon Cup); 2nd David Scott; 3rd Robin Clements.

Pit/clamp -1st Kevin McGrade and James Campbell (Tisdall Cup); 2nd Stewart Grey; 3rd Brian Donaldson.

David Linton, Regional Manager with Barenbrug UK Ltd, now in its 15th year of sponsorship of the competition judged the competition along with Kyla McKinstry from AFBI, Hillsborough who was the independent expert who ranked the silages for the Grassland Club.

The Grazing Competition was judged by Philip Clarke and Alan Warnock.

Olwen Gormley from the Vaughan Trust which sponsors the Fermanagh Grassland Club Grazing Competition presenting the Stevenson Cup to Trevor Dunn from Brookeborough who was the first prizewinner in the Dairying section of the competition. Second prize was awarded to James Murphy from Ballyreagh, Tempo and third prize was jointly awarded to Nigel Graham (Kinawley) and Gordon Elliott (Derrygonnelly).

Trevor Dunn is a third generation dairy farmer milking around 115 cows near Brookeborough. The farm of 150 acres is in two blocks with 40 acres located three miles from the main farmyard. Approximately 70 acres are taken in conacre. His father John helps Trevor on the farm.

The grazing area is managed by strip grazing where the cows are given a grazing allowance each morning and evening. Trevor has a good system of farm roadways to access the grazing area. Despite the slow spring, cows were first turned out to grass on April 1 and were out night and day from May 28. His aim is to maximise the quality of the forage in the diet from quality grass and silage.

With some reseeding done every year, swards are productive allowing Trevor to achieve a stocking rate of close to 2 CE/ha.

Normally 70 acres are harvested for the first and second cuts of silage followed by a 30-acre third cut. The herd is averaging 8,800 litres per cow at 4.10 per cent butterfat and 3.15 per cent protein. Cows are milked twice a day in a 14-point swing over parlour where they are fed 2.8 tonnes of concentrates per cow annually.

Trevor runs a “flying herd” – all his calves, which are sired by two Aberdeen Angus bulls, are sold at less than a month old and dairy herd replacements are purchased. The Holstein Friesian cows calve down all year round. Recently a new shed with calf accommodation and calving pens was erected to improve cow and calf management.

Olwen Gormley also presented the Todd Cup to Ivan Kettyle from Maguiresbridge who was the first prizewinner in the Non-dairying section of the competition. Second prize was awarded to Lee Beacom from Lisbellaw and third prize was awarded to Fred Farrelly (Killadeas).

Ivan Kettyle runs a flock of 230 ewes and 40 hoggets on a 24-ha farm near Maguiresbridge. Approximately 40 per cent of the land is taken in conacre and it lies in three blocks each within a mile of each other. Ivan has set up a paddock grazing system where stock rotate around the paddocks every five to seven days.

Any surplus grass is baled and this provides sufficient silage for the housing period. All the paddocks on his own land have been reseeded within the last five years and liming and weed control has been carried out on the rented land.

Suffolk Cheviot ewes are crossed to Texel and Charollais rams with 80 per cent of lambs finished off grass by the end of September (creep feeding is only used when the weather conditions are particularly poor).

Ivan is aiming to improve the performance of his flock from grass and has recently purchased an Aberfield ram from Innovis. The female progeny of this ram will be crossed to a Texel or other suitable breed. Teaser rams are used to tighten the lambing period into two weeks in January and February with the remainder lambing in March.

Ivan has benefited from other producers’ experience through being a member of a sheep Business Development Group.