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Teagasc Future Beef Programme in East Cork

The aim of the Teagasc Future Beef programme is to demonstrate to beef farmers how they can produce a quality product as efficiently as possible while also making it more environmentally sustainable. Aisling Molloy, Future Beef Advisor introduces the three East Cork demonstration farms here

As well as aiming to produce a quality product as efficiently as possible this programme aims to make beef farming more profitable also.

The key objectives of this programme are to:

  • Create more sustainable and profitable farms
  • To reduce GHG & ammonia emissions
  • Improve water quality
  • Improve biodiversity

In this programme there are demonstration farms nationwide, 3 of which are located in the Cork East Teagasc area unit.

Ed Curtin, Meelin, Newmarket, Co. Cork

Ed Curtin farms in partnership with his mother Breda near Meelin, Newmarket, Co. Cork. They are farming 45ha in total with 34ha at home and a further 11ha leased 25km away. The land at home moves from heavy loam into peat soils, while the leased farm is drier. Ed is a participant of the Hen harrier scheme on the home farm. The Curtin’s have 24 autumn calving suckler cows and use 100% A.I. All progeny except breeding heifers are sold for export at approx. 12 months. To increase stocking rate, Ed buys in 32 spring born dairy bred calves and brings them through to finish. Enda Maloney is his local Teagasc advisor.

Photo above: Ed Curtin with his mother, Breda

Ger McSweeney, Tooreenbawn, Milstreet, Co. Cork

Ger farms full-time with his wife Karen & daughter Ella. He farms 25.31ha adjusted (38.6ha non-adjusted) in 4 blocks. Soil on the farm is a heavy mineral soil. He is stocked at 168kg N/ha on adjusted land area & 110kg N/ha on total land area. He runs a suckling to beef system consisting of 35 spring-calving suckler cows. Males are finished as under 16mth bull beef, while heifers not retained for breeding, are finished at 23-24mths. Ger's plan is to get to 40 suckler cows and to increase the efficiency on farm. Aisling Molloy is his local Teagasc advisor.

Ella Ger Karen McSweeney

Photo Above: Ger McSweeney with his wife, Karen & daughter Ella

Kay O'Sullivan, Garrynagearagh, Mourneabbey, Mallow, Co. Cork

Kay farmed 34.83ha organic in 2021, with additional organic lands coming in to system in 2022. There is also 11.16ha forestry. There is a good loamy type soil on the farm. She runs a suckler to store/beef system along with a lowland ewe system. The farm is stocked at 110kgs/Ha in 2020, including the ewes. There are currently 25 cows, 11 heifers & 75 ewes on the farm. Selected paddocks are reseeded each year. For the past 2 years herbs & chicory are also included in the mix. Kay’s plan is to improve grass production, animal performance & biodiversity on her farm. Her local Teagasc advisor is Michael Bourke.

Photo above: Kay O'Sulllivan

Future Beef Farms

The farms selected are representative of their region for farm size, soil type, system, stock numbers etc.  They face the same challenges as their neighbours and are therefore more relatable. However, all 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.

Performance on the farms participating in the programme will be recorded throughout the year. Monitoring 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.

For more information please visit Teagasc Future Beef Programme Farms

Teagasc Advisors write regular articles of interest to farmers here on Teagasc Daily.  Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. Find your local Teagasc office here