Steps to Achieving Profitable Suckler Beef Production
An important Suckler Beef Open Day is taking place today, Tuesday 15 June, at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research centre, Grange, County Meath. Cattle farmers from across the country have travelled to see the recently established “Derrypatrick Herd” which was set up as a research demonstration unit to showcase the best and most profitable technologies and management practices.
Speaking at the open day, Teagasc beef research enterprise leader, Dr Edward O Riordan said: “A target of producing over 1,000 kilos of beef liveweight per hectare and a gross margin of €1,000 per hectare has been set for this suckler beef herd. To achieve this we must produce high levels of high value beef output. Grazed grass is, comparatively, the cheapest feed and maximising the proportion of high digestibility, grazed grass in the annual feed budget, while simultaneously achieving high animal performance and providing sufficient grass silage of appropriate digestibility for the indoor winter period, is central to the production system.”
Teagasc beef specialist Bernard Smyth said: “Increasing stocking rate is the key to drive gross beef output and financial margins. High calving rates, good animal growth performance and the right genetics to produce higher value carcasses are also important. All of these are being pursued at the new Unit in Grange to reach the targets set, which are 1.5 – 3 times higher than those being achieved on the Top Third of farms as measured by the Teagasc eProfit Monitor results and the National Farm Survey.”
Teagasc drystock business and technology advisers along with New Zealand grassland expert Adrian van Bysterdveldt, are demonstrating the ideal pre-grazing grass covers and the optimum post-grazing heights to maximise grass utilisation in a suckler beef situation. Teagasc beef specialist Pearse Kelly shows how spending as little as one hour per week on grass measurement and grazing management has the potential to deliver a return of €200/hour for a 25 hectare farm.
An open forum to discuss the physical and financial targets of suckler beef and calf-to-beef production systems is taking place, chaired by the Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle. Reproductive performance and grazing management along with the practical experience from the BETTER farm beef programme are also being discussed.
BeefOpenDay20100615 (PDF, 2.3MB)