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Teagasc Beef Conference 2014

Pictured at Teagasc Grange for the launching of the National Beef Conference were: (l to r) Tom Kelleher, Regional Manager, RN/LD Teagasc; Anselm Fitzgerald, Zoetis; Paul Crosson, Teagasc Grange and Pearse Kelly, Head of KT Drystock, Teagasc.

This year’s Teagasc National Beef Conference is themed 'Improved Breeding & Feeding of Suckler Cows to Increase Profitability' and will take place on Thursday, 9 October at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Speaking in advance of the beef conference Pearse Kelly, Head of the Drystock Knowledge Transfer Department in Teagasc said: “Speakers from both Ireland and the UK will give their perspectives of the major factors directly impacting on the profitability of Irish suckler herds, namely breeding and feeding. We will also hear from two successful suckler farmers on what works on their farms and what lessons can be drawn on by other beef producers.

The initial session will focus on breeding in suckler herds. Dr David Kenny of Teagasc, will outline the key issues affecting fertility performance in suckler herds and what farmers can do to make improvements. Dr Colin Penny from Zoetis, and formerly of the Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, will give practical advice on how farmers can reduce the large numbers of calf deaths each year, before they reach 12 months of age.

John Kelly, a suckler farmer with a 90 cow suckler herd in Co. Longford will describe his replacement heifer breeding policy and how he will use the new Replacement Index to further improve the type of cow coming into his herd in the future.

The second session will deal with feeding in suckler herds. Dr Paul Crosson and Dr Mark McGee of Teagasc Grange who will outline the impact of turnout and housing dates on the cost of feeding spring- and autumn - calving suckler cows. Margaret Lehane a well-known suckler farmer from Co. Cork who will give a breakdown of the management practices she has implemented to consistently calve all of her replacement heifers at 24 months of age. Paul Mooney a Nutritionist from Trouw Nutrition who will cover the importance of the mineral and vitamin feeding programme in the suckler cows’ diet.

Zoetis are kindly sponsoring the conference and it will be a BTAP qualifying event. Registration will begin at 2.00pm with the Conference opening at 3.00pm.