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National Beef Conference – Dairy Beef Systems

The 2013 Teagasc National Beef Conference will take place on Wednesday 9th October in the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny. The theme for this year’s conference is “Profitable beef production from the dairy herd”. This conference will outline the different systems of dairy beef, their inputs and outputs, and their overall profitability.

Speaking in advance of the conference, Head of Drystock Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc Pearse Kelly said: “With an increase in dairy cow numbers expected and the likely roll out of sexed semen across the country the number of beef animals coming from the dairy herd is expected to rise significantly over the coming years. The challenge to Irish beef farmers is how best to finish these cattle in profitable and sustainable beef systems”.

Dr. Paul Crosson of Teagasc Grange has examined the potential returns from the different dairy calf to beef systems that will be discussed at the conference. He stated that: “Gross margins of almost €1500/ha and net margins of almost €900/ha are achievable from dairy calf to beef systems. The key issues are to have excellent herd health minimising losses and to attain a very high percentage of total lifetime gain from grazed grass. Systems based on early maturing crossbreds are normally more profitable; however, pure Holstein-Friesian systems are also capable of delivering good economic returns.”

Beef carcass specifications from the different systems and breeds will be discussed at the conference. An impressive line up of beef market experts including beef processors, Tesco and Bord Bia will take part in a panel discussion on what the markets now require and the bonuses that are available, particularly for the traditional breeds.

Dr. Rob Prendiville of Teagasc will outline the latest research from the different calf to beef systems that have been running in Johnstown Castle over the last three years and a number of farmers will give their experience of rearing and finishing calves sourced from the dairy herd. Maggie Gould from Volac will outline the key principles involved in successfully rearing bought in calves.

The conference fee is €50 which includes dinner and the conference proceedings. Bookings can be made with Loreto Ferguson by contacting her on 049-4338300 or at loreto.ferguson@teagasc.ie