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Derrypatrick Herd Update

An update on the performance of the Derrypatrick suckler beef herd at Teagasc, Grange, County Meath was provided for farmers at a farm walk yesterday, Thursday, 29 September.

Cow and calf performance for 2011 was outlined by Derrypatrick project leader Denis Minogue who highlighted a pregnancy rate of 90% following a 12-week breeding season and an average daily gain to date for calves of 1.2 kg/day. The performance of finishing bulls showed that 16% graded E, 80% graded U, 4% graded R and the average carcass weight was 400 kg at 18 months of age.

Outlining the financial performance, Teagasc researcher Paul Crosson said that the target gross margin per hectare for the herd when it was set up was €1,019. The actual gross margin in 2011 is expected to be €994 per hectare.

Prices have changed in the meantime, so when the nominal prices used for the target system are applied, gross margin in 2011 is €867 per hectare. This financial performance is considerably higher than the average achieved on commercial farms, as measured by either the National Farm Survey (€141/ha) or by the eProfit monitor data (€391/ha) collected from farmers.

Speaking at the farm walk, Teagasc beef enterprise leader, Eddie O Riordan said that a range of alternative bull finishing systems are currently being evaluated at Grange and indicated that the system currently in operation in the Derrypatrick Herd, providing bulls with a 3 to 4 month grazing period prior to indoor finishing, return the greatest margin.