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Future Beef

Future Beef Newsletter

The Future Beef Team are planning to compile and issue newsletter on a regular basis throughout the year, commencing later this year. The newsletter will have revelant time criticak information and advice. If you would like to receive the newsletter register your interest at the link below.

Aim

The aim of Future Beef is to demonstrate to beef farmers how they can produce a quality product as efficiently as possible to make beef farming more profitable while also making it more environmentally and socially sustainable.

Future Beef farmers are participants in the Signpost Programme 

Key objectives

  • Create more sustainable and profitable farms
  • Reduce green house gas (GHG) & ammonia emissions
  • Improve water quality
  • Improve biodiversity

We will achieve this by focussing on reducing inputs and the costs of production while increasing the performance of every animal on the farm. 

Meet the Team 

To achieve the objectives the main focus areas are:

Breeding

Every cow on every farm should produce a calf every year. If she is not, she should be replaced. For many this will involve a refocus on: nutrition, health and housing

Each calf must be of good genetic merit, targeting a 200-day weight of 250 Kg as a heifer and 300 Kg as a bull. To bring that into focus, that is an average daily gain of at least 1.15 Kg per day.

All replacement heifers should be calving at two years of age. This is key to reducing costs on farm while also reducing the overall carbon footprint of beef production.

Key focus areas are:

  • Growing the replacement heifer
  • Body condition scoring cows & heifers
  • Nutrition
  • Picking appropriate bulls
  • Health
  • Housing

Grassland management:

Good quality grass is the cheapest feed available to any beef farmer. The intake of top quality grass must be maximised to achieve high average daily gains. This will reduce the amount of silage and concentrates fed while also decreasing the length of time an animal stays on farm. This equates to fewer inputs, lower costs, and increased profitability while also reducing GHG and ammonia emissions. 

Key focus areas are:

  • Developing practical grassland management programmes for each region
  • Extended grazing – early spring grass and a planned closing in autumn
  • Optimising soil fertility
  • Increased use of low emission slurry spreading (LESS) and protected urea
  • Paddocks , infrastructure & rotational grazing

Health

Your health is your wealth. A sick animal or an animal with a parasite burden will not perform to its potential. A farm needs to have a plan in place that will deal with parasites, viruses and illness

Key focus areas are:

  • A comprehensive health plan
    • Vaccination
    • Correct dosing policy using faecal sampling
  • Improved ventilation and environment in sheds
  • Nutrition – Diets based on forage analysis and animal requirements

Monitoring

Performance on the farms participating in the programme will be recorded throughout the year - you cannot manage what you do not measure.

Monitoring on the farms will allow us to measure the impact of improved technical efficiency on profitability and the environment. All results will be communicated though the Future Beef website, social media, discussion group visits & farm walks etc.

Farmers

The whole programme hinges on our network of 22 demonstration farms. All our farmers have a very positive attitude towards suckler farming. They are willing to take on new technologies and develop efficiencies to improve profitability and reduce the negative effects of agriculture on the environment around them.

Each farm is representative of their region in farm size, soil type, system, stock numbers etc.  They face the same challenges as their neighbours. When they adopt new technologies and show how they are successful on their farms, their neighbours will be more comfortable adopting the same technologies. Future Beef farmers will be a pioneer in their own community.

Meet the Team


Acknowledgement

We wish to thank the farmers that have agreed to take part in the programme. We look forward to working with them and their local advisors over the next five years. We are confident that all parties involved in the programme will benefit hugely from the experience.

We wish to acknowledge all the sponsors of the Future Beef Programme and thank them for their commitment to the programme.

 


Partners

Teagasc

ABP Ireland

Ashbourne Meat Processors

Dawn Meats

Euro Farm Foods

Foyle Food Group

Kepak Group

Kildare Chilling Co.

Liffey Meats

   

Meat Industry Ireland 

Moyvalley Meats

Slaney Foods