2019 GOLD WINNER BEEF INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR

John Egerton

Lisnavoe Farm, John Egerton, Co Fermanag

John Egerton is driven by a desire to provide a viable farming future for his three adult sons who are all interested in farming in the future.

With limited opportunities to expand the acreage of the 72ha (178 acre) Lisnavoe Farm, John has added other strands to his beef business and has used technology extensively to ensure his is getting maximum efficiency from his stock.

Running a suckler herd of 90 cows, John sells in-calf heifers as replacements and takes everything else through to finishing.

He follows a similar strategy with his 150-ewe sheep flock, with ewe lambs sold as replacements and all other progeny finished on farm. Finished cattle are sold through ABP, and lambs through a lamb group.

He also contract rears dairy heifers, and recently built a calf rearing shed to rear calves to 12 weeks of age for Blade Farming.

Genetics

All the suckler cows are bred to AI, and John is using a synchronisation programme and a heat detection system to ensure he is achieving the best possible breeding results.

He explains the use of AI has meant he has been able to focus on maternal genetics, and is now using sexed semen to keep up with the demand for his replacement heifers.

John is keen to measure as much as he can within the business, and to this end he is annually analysing soil and silage, and cattle are weighed every six weeks at grass, and every three weeks at housing.

He is also measuring grass growth weekly across the farm, which is all split into paddocks.

The move has enable John to utilise up to 90 per cent of grass grown, and he is also able to identify under-performing fields and make interventions where necessary.


The judges said about John: we praise John for his attention to detail, and his willingness to embrace change and try new technology and ideas, he has a vision for the future of his business and he is doing everything possible to ensure that vision is met.

On winner, John said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have won the award, and it came as such a surprise. Innovation is the key to taking the industry to the next level, and I am pleased to have three sons who are keen on continuing to farm. It has been a suburb evening and we are overwhelmed to have won.”