My name is Michael Delaney and I am a 4th year Animal and Crop Production student in UCD. As part of my 3rd year work experience I travelled to the 12,000 acre tillage and beef farm of Dustin Hawkins in Saskatchewan, Canada to see farming on a much larger scale and to learn more about his tillage and beef farm. This proved to be an eye-opening experience and was made possible due to the kind funding from the ASA and the Irish Farmers Journal.
At the beginning of our stay on the farm we worked on the beef side of the farm and worked with Dustin’s 700 cow suckler herd where we helped with calving, sorting and also branding the calves before getting them ready to be let out to pasture. Interestingly, these animals could be then transported up to 100km away for the rest of the year and it was at this time we focused our attention on the tillage aspect of the farm.
The tillage side of the farm was definitely my favourite experience of the farm with Dustin planting 12,000 acres every season which all is undertaken in less than a month. To do this, he had two 570 horsepower tracked John Deere tractors which pulled two 80ft planters which was really a sight to behold. Other machinery which we had the pleasure of using included new John Deere tractors, machinery and a 132ft sprayer which may be something we will never see the likes of again!
Overall, I was delighted with my experience in Canada and will be forever grateful to the ASA and Irish Farmers Journal for giving me the chance to travel and see agriculture on a much larger scale.7nbsp;