BEACON FARMERS

Gareth Sproule

Gareth Sproule from Castlederg runs a beef and sheep enterprise on a rotational grazing system. He also runs a poultry unit, selling thehen and duck eggs via a vending machine and at local shops. Gareth is a member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union in North Tyrone and the National Sheep Association. Gareth Sproule
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Thomas Martin

 Thomas, Jayne and Heather Martin run a combined beef and dairy farm in Portaferry. Recently, Thomas has reduced the total protein content in the dairy feed ration and has also participated in the Wider Environmental Farming Scheme to protect waterways surrounding his farm. 

Jessica Pollock

 Jessica Pollock farms in Castlederg, where she runs a dairy enterprise of 160 cows. During the last five years, Jessica has introduced a number of innovations on farm, including feed to yield and robotic scraping system, as well as introducing a hydro-electric turbine, solar panels and an on-farm weather station. Jessica Pollock

Gareth Taylor

Gareth and his family run a 300-cow dairy enterprise on Glastry Farm in Kirkcubbin, where they make their own ice cream. Recently, they have undertaken nutritional assessments of their dairy cows, using Farmgate technologies and the Royal Dick monitoring of cow nutrient status, as well as becoming involved in the Genus Herd Fertility Programme.

Paul Turley

Paul Turley and his sons Frank and Thomas run an extensive Angus and Wagyu beef enterprise in Downpatrick, where they have recently introduced new practices to reduce nitrogen use on-farm. Paul and Frank are also involved in the GrassCheck programme and have recently been selected to work on an EIP multi-species project. Paul and Frank Turley

David Thompson

 David Thompson from Glentimon Farm in Strabane operates a 140 cow spring calving dairy herd, which has been established in the last three years through investments in milking equipment and cattle accommodation. David currently sits on the UFU Rural Development Committee as Vice Chairman.

Nigel McLaughlin

Nigel McLaughlin and his son Marc run a combined beef and sheep enterprise in Co. Londonderry. Over the last five years, Nigel has altered his system to allow for paddock grazing and optimal grassland management. Nigel is current Chair of the UFU Hill Farming Committee and is a past LMC Commissioner Nigel McLaughlin

John Rafferty

 John Rafferty from Poyntzpass runs a combined dairy and beef enterprise alongside growing forage crops on his County Armagh farm. In recent years, he has invested in an automated feeding system and computerised calf-feeding system. At present, John sits on the Scarva Buying Group. John Rafferty

Hugh Harbison

Hugh Harbison runs a dairy farm consisting of approximately 180 cows on his 100-hectare farm in Coleraine. Recently, he has implemented heat detection practices for breeding cattle and regularly monitors grass performance as part of the GrassCheck programme. He also sits as Chair for his local Dale Farm Council.

Brian McCracken

Brian McCracken alongside his wife and father runs a dairy enterprise of New Zealand Friesian and Kiwi Cross dairy cows at Cairngaver Farm in Newtownards. Brian is a current participant in the GrassCheck programme and has previously chaired the Ardglass Discussion Group.

Declan Rafferty

Declan Rafferty farms full-time on his beef and poultry farm in Pomeroy. As part of the GrassCheck programme, Declan takes regular grass measurements during the grazing season to measure performance. He is also a member of the Irish Farmers Journal Better Beef Challenge and is currently a Technology Demonstration Farm. Declan Rafferty

William Chestnutt

William Chestnutt runs a dairy enterprise and small-number poultry-unit for direct egg sales on his 145-hectare farm in Portrush. He also rears calves from the dairy enterprise to beef on a rotational grazing system for supply to processors Foyle and WD Meats, as well as growing forage crops such as oats. William Chestnutt

Thomas Steele

Thomas Steele and his family run an intensive dairy unit in Kirkcubbin, in addition to growing a range of combinable, forage and protein crops. As well as working full-time on the farm, Thomas chairs the AgriSearch Dairy Committee. He has participated in a number of projects with AgriSearch and AFBI and has previously been selected as a ‘Focus Farm’. Thomas Steele

Trevor Somerville

Trevor Somerville farms full-time on a beef enterprise in Dungannon. Trevor has made use of past environmental schemes to plant hedgerows on farm and also fence off some water courses. He hopes to trial some multi-species swards in the future. Trevor is also a current member of the UFU next generation group.

Adrian Cooper

Adrian Cooper farms part-time in Garvagh, where he runs a combined beef and sheep enterprise. Adrian has recently invested in an EID reader for his flock and has taken part in the EFS wider scheme. He also dedicates time as a support assistant to nine BDG’s. Adrian Cooper

John McElroy

John and Ronan McElroy farm part-time in Clogher, County Tyrone, where they have a combined beef and sheep enterprise on their 141-hectare upland farm. They have recently taken part in the AFBI suckler breeding synchronisation programme and participate in both a suckler and an environmental BDG. John and Ronan McElroy

James Henderson

James Henderson is a full-time beef farmer in Kilkeel, where he also has a flock of 250 lowland breeding ewes. James is a participant in the GrassCheck programme and is involved in the Technical Demonstration Farm programme. He is also the current director of the Beef and Lamb producer group. James Henderson

Robert Cochrane

Robert and Paul Cochrane are part-time farmers operating a suckler to beef system on their 40-hectare farm in Coleraine. Recently, Robert has also undertaken a study investigating the utilisation of mole drainage on farm, which was overseen by Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities. Robert and Paul Cochrane

Andrew Crawford

 William and Andrew Crawford from Beragh, Tyrone, run a 315 strong dairy enterprise. In addition to this, they have a poultry enterprise and finish approximately 350 lambs on a rotational grazing system each year. Recently, they have initiated the use of sexed semen to breed replacement stock. Andrew and William Crawford

Jack Johnston

 Jack and Mark Johnston, along with their father Harold, run a 300-cow dairy farm in Ahoghill. Recent innovation developments on the farm include the introduction of genomic testing for heifers, selective dry cow therapy, GPS use for fertiliser application as well as the introduction of low potassium silage for dry cows. Jack and Mark Johnston

Ryan Carr

 Ryan and Audrey Carr from Downpatrick run a predominantly dairy farm across 110-hectares. Recently Ryan has been trialling the effectiveness of using sexed semen to artificially inseminate his dairy herd, while also using genomic bulls. In addition, Ryan is a participant in the GrassCheck programme with the aim of increasing his milk production from grass.

Reggie Alcorn

Reggie Alcorn runs a 200 strong dairy enterprise with the help of his wife and two sons in Omagh. In addition to this, they grow forage crops such as wholecrop wheat and lupins, and recently have established a sunflower field which is open to the public to raise money for charity. Reggie Alcorn

Kevin McGrade

 Kevin McGrade and his son Mark run a dairy enterprise of 240 cows on their farm in Dromore, County Tyrone. As part of the GrassCheck programme, Kevin regularly measures grass performance through the grazing season to optimise grass utilisation on his farm as he has recently introduced a ‘feed to yield’ strategy. Kevin McGrade and family

David McKinstry

 David McKinstry farms alongside his father and brothers in Magherafelt, where they run a herd of approximately 60 suckler cows and contract-reared dairy calves. David participates in the GrassCheck programme and as an extension of this will be taking part in a study using drone technologies. 

David Clarke

 David Clarke farms alongside his parents near Augher, County Tyrone with a dairy herd of 80 spring calving cows and a larger broiler-breeder poultry unit. David hopes to establish more clover in existing swards as well as looking to establish a multi-species sward on farm for dairy grazing. David Clarke

Wayne Acheson

 Wayne Acheson runs a range of beef finishing systems alongside a poultry enterprise on his farm in Cookstown. In addition to other innovative practices on farm, Wayne regularly measures grass performance as part of the GrassCheck programme, and is involved in two multi-species sward research projects. Farm Manager Andrew Clarke

Jayme Carvill

Jayme Carvill farms alongside his father and brother on a beef and sheep farm in Hilltown. As part of the GrassCheck programme, the Carvill’s partake in regular grass measurement to monitor performance across the grazing season. Jayme has also been selected for a European Innovation Partnership project to reduce anthelmintic use. Jayme Carvill

Roger and Hilary Bell

Roger and Hilary Bell, husband and wife from Kells, both farm full-time finishing beef cattle and rearing sheep on a rotational grazing system. The Bell’s are currently involved in the Co-Op Lamb group and programmes such as GrassCheck, Ecosward and most recently two separate European Innovation Partnership Scheme projects. Roger and Hilary Bell

Arthur and Alise Callaghan

Arthur and his sister Alise Callaghan run a part-time beef enterprise in Kilkeel alongside their father. In recent years, they have initiated new practices such as the use of AI and embryo transfer on a small nucleus of breeding females. They are also using faecal egg counts to inform anthelmintic use on-farm. Arthur and Alise Callaghan

Samantha and Niall McCarroll

Samantha and Niall McCarroll from Fintona are first-generation dairy farmers, milking a herd of 90 spring-calving cows on an extended grazing system. The McCarroll’s measure grass performance, as well as carrying out annual soil analysis and regularly weighing cattle to ensure targets are met. Samantha and Niall McCarroll

Gabriel and Clare Kelly

Gabriel and Clare Kelly from Trillick are currently running a mix of beef enterprises on their 15-hectare farm. They continually monitor their farm enterprise to ensure their business is both economically and environmentally sustainable. In addition to his on-farm commitments, Gabriel is also the chairperson of Greener Fields. Gabriel and Clare Kelly

Dale Orr

Dale and John Orr from Downpatrick run a suckler to beef and lowland sheep enterprise at Churchtown Farm. They have recently established a herbal ley mix and grow clovers organically. Dale sits on the committee for the NI National Sheep Association and the farm has been selected as a Technology Demonstration Farm. Dale Orr

Crosby Cleland

Crosby Cleland is a full-time sheep farmer from Ballynahinch. In addition to his flock of 850 lambs and breeding ewes, he also runs an agricultural fencing business. Crosby has previously chaired a number of committees within the UFU, held various roles in the Strangford Down lamb group and represents Northern Irish farmers on the Tesco committee. Crosby Cleland

Paraic McNeill

 Paraic and Seamus McNeill farm part-time in Annaclone, where they have a combined beef and sheep enterprise. Paraic is involved in the Irish Farmers’ Journal NI Better Sheep Programme, and has recently taken steps to improve grass performance across his farm, analysing soil and measuring silage quality. Paraic and Seamus McNeill

Barry McCullagh

Barry McCullagh farms part-time in Omagh, where he has a range of beef rearing systems on his 42-hectare farm. In recent years, he has taken steps to improve biodiversity on farm, such as planting hedgerows, fencing off waterways and preserving bog land and planted areas. Barry McCullagh

Douglas McKenzie

Douglas McKenzie operates a full-time beef enterprise with around 200 cattle on 81 hectares in Dungannon. He is currently participating as a Technology Demonstration Farm for fertility, and is a member of Environmental Farming and Suckler Beef discussion groups. Douglas McKenzie

Philip Truesdale

Philip Truesdale from Castlewellan runs a combined beef, sheep and dairy enterprise on his farm, aiming to maximise grass utilisation through paddock grazing. He also sits on the committee of the Ulster Grassland Society and is the current Chairman of the Strangford Down producer group.

Eamonn Matthews

Eamonn and Ronan Matthews from Glenarm farm part-time, breeding pedigree cattle and upland sheep on a rotational grazing system. Eamonn is currently the BDG Programme Manager for AI services and sits on the UFU Rural Development Committee. Eamonn Matthews

John Egerton

John Egerton farms full-time alongside his father, William, and his sons in Rosslea, where they have a combined beef and sheep enterprise on their 72-hectare farm. John is a current committee member for AHWNI and a participant in the GrassCheck programme. He has also previously held the role of Chairman for the Fermanagh Grassland Club. John and William Egerton

Joe Cush

Joe Cush runs a dairy herd of 70 spring-calving cows in Pomeroy, Tyrone, as well as rearing calves to beef on a rotational grazing system. Joe is a familiar face having been involved in the GrassCheck programme and hosted farm walks for the project in recent years. Joe Cush

Sam Chesney

Sam Chesney runs a beef and sheep enterprise with the help of his family in Kirkcubbin, where they also grow protein and clover crops. Sam currently Chairs the UFU Beef and Lamb committee and has been involved in the GrassCheck and Food Futures programmes. He was recently announced as Farmers Weekly Grassland Manager of the Year 2020. Sam Chesney

Frank McDonnell

Frank McDonnell is currently running a dairy enterprise, with help from his father Michael, as well as a flock of lowland sheep across his 55-hectare farm in Omagh. Recently, Frank has taken steps to reduce antibiotic use on-farm in an attempt to control the risk of resistance. Frank McDonnell

John Martin

John Martin runs a lowland sheep flock and contract-rears dairy heifers on a rotational system at his farm in Greyabbey. He also grows combinable crops and has short rotation coppiced willow. John also participates in the GrassCheck programme and sits as a committee Chair of the RUAS.
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Bill Harpur

Bill Harpur farms full-time on his suckler to beef farm in Portrush and is growing a combination of combinable and forage crops. Bill currently chairs the Environmental Committee with the Ulster Farmers’ Union and has previously sat as Chair of the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust.

Albert O’Neill

Albert O’Neill farms 100 hectares outside Strabane. He supplies milk to Lakeland Dairies from his 195 head dairy herd as well as growing forage crops. Over the last 5 years, Albert has instigated a number of new practices on farm to improve efficiency, such as laying down astro-turf on cow lanes to reduce lameness.

Jonathan Blair

Jonathan Blair runs a suckler to beef system on his farm in Ballykelly, as well as growing combinable crops. In recent times, Jonathan has adopted innovative practices on farm such as heat detection for AI and measuring grass and is involved in both GrassCheck and Better Farm NI programmes. Jonathan Blair

Matthew Dobson

 Matthew Dobson runs a store beef finishing system alongside rearing dairy origin calves at Cottagequinn Farms in Dungannon. He has recently invested in weighing equipment for his sheep and cattle, as well as a dribble-bar for slurry application to improve the efficiency of his farming business. Matthew Dobson

Stephen Maguire

 Stephen Maguire farms full-time on his beef enterprise in Maguiresbridge, rearing store cattle to beef and rearing dairy calves on a contract basis. In addition to participating in the Beacon Farm Network he is also a participant in the GrassCheck programme, submitting grass samples for analysis at Hillsborough and monitoring grass growth on his farm. Stephen Maguire

Martin Craig

Martin and Jonathan Craig run a beef and sheep enterprise on their farm in Antrim. In addition to participating in the Beacon Farm Network Martin is also involved in the GrassCheck programme and has recently been selected to work on a European Innovation Partnership programme, aimed at reducing the use of anthelmintic products on farm. Martin Craig