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Sheep Grassland Management

Sheep Grassland Management

DAERA invites applications for Sheep Technology Demonstration Farms

It is the intention to appoint 2 new farmers to demonstrate technologies. These will be people who enjoy welcoming other farmers onto their farm and can tell their story of how they have introduced new technologies into their business. Farms will be selected under the theme: Grassland Management.

What is expected of a TDF Host?
  • To host a minimum of 8 groups of visiting farmers and provide a demonstration of the specified technologies.

What should the Host expect in return?
  • Technical support from a CAFRE Technologist
  • IT and other equipment to support the delivery of demonstrations
  • A Support Assistant to assist at each visit
  • A £600 payment per demonstration hosted

To become a technology demonstration farm for this theme, applicants must be able to demonstrate the following innovative technologies:

  1. Nutrient Management Plan
  2. Reseeding Activities in the Last Five Years
  3. Target Grazing Grass Covers
  4. Managed Grazing System i.e. Rotational/paddock grazing systems.
  5. Silage Quality Assessment
  6. Weighing Technologies

Applicants may be shortlisted based on being able to demonstrate the use of the following technologies:

  1. Total Farm Cover Measuring Technology
  2. Grazing software technology
  3. Low ammonia emission slurry spreading technology
  4. Worm Burden Assessment
  5. Animal Health Plan

To view the terms and conditions and for a more detailed description of these required and desirable technologies, click here.

Applications for Sheep Grassland Management Technology Demonstration Farms will open on Wednesday 15th September 2021 and close at 4.00pm on Monday 4th October 2021. Applicants will then be shortlisted and those selected will undergo an on-farm suitability assessment.

CAFRE has currently recruited four technology demonstration farms who will demonstrate the selected essential technologies to visiting groups of farmers.

Group bookings must be made through CAFRE.
Telephone: 028 9442 6790


Dale Orr, Strangford, Co. Down

Dale runs a flock of 460 purebred Lleyn ewes, 100 suckler cows and 150 growing and finishing beef animals. Lambing takes place from early March to the end of April. Dale breeds his own replacements and supplies lambs to the Tesco ‘cost of production’ (COP) scheme. Dale has increased the area of mixed species swards from 25 acres in 2018 to 50 acres and has sown another 20 acres sown this year. He manages his rotational grazing by using a combination of livestock weights (to calculate demand) and historic grass growth data. Groups of ewes and lambs graze 5acre paddocks and are moved every 5-6 days. Target entry and exit covers are 2800kgDM/ha and 1600kgDM/ha.


Crosby Cleland, Saintfield, Co. Down

Crosby runs a flock of 800 ewes with Lleyn and Aberfield as the two main maternal sires to produce his own replacements. Lambing takes place during March. Crosby is a member of the Strangford Down lamb group which sells lambs to Linden Foods. Benchmarking is used to record and monitor performance. Crosby rotationally grazes mobs of about 100 ewes through 2 acre paddocks, moving groups every 2-3 days. A platemeter is used to measure grass covers with a target entry cover of 2700kgDM/ha and exit cover target of 1700kgDM/ha.

John Martin, Greyabbey, Co. Down

John runs a flock of 700 Highlander and Belclare cross ewes with some Aberfield genetics added in recent years. 160 of these lamb in mid January and 540 in mid March. John operates a rotational grazing system through 1-2 acre paddocks. Based on his platemeter calibration for dense swards John has target entry and exit covers of 3000kgDM/ha and 2000-2200kgDM/ha. John has also recently sown some mixed sward species which he hopes to graze this season.

Roger Bell, Kells, Co. Antrim

Roger runs a flock of 550 of predominantly Texel mule ewes with some Aberfield genetics added in recent years along with 40 finishing beef cattle. Lambing takes place from mid March to mid April. Sheep are grazed in two mobs of 250 ewes and are moved every 3-6 days depending on paddock size. Rogers entry and exit target covers are 2300kgDM/ha and 1600kgDM/ha. Roger finishes lambs from grass only and uses an automatic feeder for any pet lambs.

Part of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme in the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
The European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development
Rural Development Programme