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HomeBeefVIDEO: Running a suckler farm with a 364-day calving interval
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VIDEO: Running a suckler farm with a 364-day calving interval

Billy and Niall Nicholson run a suckler-to-beef and tillage enterprise in Crosshaven, Co. Cork.

The farm, which is being highlighted as part of Virtual Beef Week, has a 364-day calving interval with 85% cows calving in the first 6 weeks and 3.00 calves/cow/year.

They retain some of their own replacements, while inferior-types are slaughtered from 22-23-months of age; they averaged approximately 340kgs deadweight this year, with some U grades, while most were Rs.

All male progeny are finished as bulls under 16-months, while they also purchase some weanling bulls.

Bulls achieved an average carcass weight of 407kgs this year, with the majority grading Us and occasional R grades.


The Nicholsons are in their sixth-year of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), which has helped them focus on the replacement index and ensure they are only breeding from animals with four and five-star ratings.

By reviewing data from BDGP, along with the BEEP scheme, they can identify cows that are actually performing.

“We are keen to have these high-producing 4 and 5-star animals because economically they are delivering for us on-farm.”

“They are keeping the farming system profitable and they are making sure that suckler farming on this farm is sustainable.”


The Nicholsons are GLAS participants and view biodiversity as an important element of their farm.

“Farming here at a stocking rate of 2.2 LU/ha, we are still focusing on biodiversity because it is important to maintain nature and maintain hedgerows on the farm.”

“As farmers, we are custodians of the land, while also trying to do the best we can on-farm and produce as many kilos of liveweight as we can.”

Image and video source: Teagasc Youtube

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