Ballinamore-based Longford farmer is causing a stir on YouTube

The family farm is located close to the Royal Canal in the picturesque village of Killashee or Cill na Sidhe which means “Fairy Mound Church” or “Fairy Wood”.

Philip is a member of Macra na Feirme and IFA. Operating around 240 acres of plowing and 300 acres of prairie (50/50 owned / rented), the family farm is a partnership between Philip, his father Derek and his uncle Ian. The family also owns a large agricultural subcontracting business and operates a wide range of machinery. As Philip says “we do everything except hedge trimming”.

His brother Eric, his sister Jessica and his fiancee Olivia Hartshorn are also helping. His mother Diane does “all the book work, the accounts and all the behind-the-scenes work.” During the peak season, the family also employs additional workers to help with silage and harvesting.

Philip studied at Gurteen Agricultural College and graduated with a Green Cert in 2016. He is very active on social media, mainly YouTube, where he uploads videos every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday that feature everything from contracts to work. cattle at demonstrations of vintage machines and tractors. .

Philip can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. One of his videos uploaded to YouTube on June 3, 2021 had c. 418,000 views.

According to Philip, his “videos are viewed in 120 countries, 50% of views are from Ireland, 33% from Great Britain and the rest of the world.”

Until 2004 they were treating a purebred Jersey herd but were wiped out by tuberculosis. They also had a purebred Limousin herd until 2016 when they switched from the suckler business to a dairy beef fattening system.

About 400 x beef calves (aged 10 days and older) are purchased each spring from local dairy farms. Calves are milk fed using automatic calf feeders and weaned with a calf ration supplied by Liffey Mills. Philip is a big supporter of Jersey X calves and finds calves born in January / February to be generally healthier and perform better.

The Stewart family used to buy bagged food which is more expensive than bulk food and besides the biosecurity risks they also suffered significant food losses due to vermin. So they bought a 16t Green V-Mac split feed silo from McAree Engineering that could store two different calf rations and also protected the valuable calf feed from hungry vermin.

According to Teagasc, if left unchecked, rodents can cause serious economic losses on farms due to consumption, contamination and spoilage of food and feed, the spread of pathogens harmful to human and animal health, damage to buildings and equipment and loss of quality assurance accreditation, eg Bord Bia.

The new feed silo has two bagging chutes and the Stewarts can move the feed using a McAree wheelbarrow to the calves. One side can also be retro fitted with an auger if needed, to load their Keenan feeder.

According to Phil, “We chose a McAree bin because we felt it was the best manufactured feed silo on the market. Excellent value for money due to their lack of problems and guaranteed long service life. Noel Kiely, from McAree Engineering, was very helpful and gave us great advice on preparing the base of the silo.

The cattle are lying all winter on straw cultivated on the spot, crushed peat or on slatted floors in the old dairy barns. Finished cattle are sold primarily to Dawn Meats in Slane at a target live weight of at least 500 kg. Bulls are finished before 24 months, steers around 25 months and heifers around 26 months. The cattle are all fed on a grass-based system with a 100% homemade fattening ration with the exception of cookie flour, a food waste supplemented by a mixture of mineral vitamins.

The family cultivates 240 acres of grain as well as faba beans (which replace imported soybeans for protein) and forage corn (under cover) to feed their own livestock. They also sell surplus winter oats and barley to an agricultural merchant, local horse and cattle ranchers. Philip says “We also sell baled silage, square hay bales and straw to local farmers. Square bales are popular – due to their higher density and shape, they take up less storage space (rare on many farms) than round bales.

As mentioned earlier, the family operates a wide range of machinery for their agricultural subcontracting business. This includes a fleet of Massey Ferguson (MF) tractors, a large MF square baler and an MF combine. They also have a Claas Jaguar forage harvester, Fusion wrapper, JCB loader and many other machines.

One of their dogs, Bertie (an Irish x Lakeland Terrier), especially enjoys roaming the farm in a tractor cabin and can often be seen in Philip’s YouTube videos. The Stewart family also have a large collection of vintage Ferguson tractors and machinery in Nuffields, including the very first tractor the family bought by their great-grandfather a gasoline-powered Ferguson 20, also included in their collection. are 4 vintage MF combine harvesters.

Philip and his fiancee Olivia also opened an on-farm shop this year, Stewart Family Farm, selling their own home-produced beef, which is slaughtered and processed by a local butcher at a licensed abattoir. At the same time, they also sell a range of County Longford products, including honey and elderflower syrup, as well as “Farmer Phil” products.

According to Philip, “our Frisian and Jersey beef x is selling well. We have great feedback from customers and people are coming back for more. Their beef, merchandise and other products can be ordered online, over the phone, or by visiting their store. Philip says: “The shop is doing well, we have a wide variety of customers, from locals to sending boxes of beef all over Ireland.”

A more recent farming endeavor in conjunction with Farm Shop was a cultivation of locally grown pumpkins. Open for the week before Halloween, visitors could “pick their own pumpkin”. Another great example of agricultural diversification and an enterprising young farmer.

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