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Farmers Benefit from Participating in Teagasc Beef Discussion Groups

Farmers who are members of Teagasc beef discussion groups were found to have higher output, higher costs and higher overall gross and net margins than non-members. That’s according to an independent evaluation report, ‘Impact of Farmers Participating in Teagasc Beef Discussion Groups, 2012 to 2014’, carried out by Broadmore research for Teagasc.

On average, beef farmers who are members of groups had higher output (€363 per hectare) and higher net margin (€95 per hectare). Discussion group members had higher stocking rates and achieved higher prices per head for their livestock. The report found that discussion group members were mainly in suckler to weanling production, tended to have larger farms, had a higher level of agricultural education and training and were younger on average than non-discussion group members (National Farm Survey).

The author of the report, Pat Bogue from Broadmore Research said: “Farmers are clearly benefiting from being members of groups and are satisfied with the delivery of the service from Teagasc. Members are focussed on productivity and the financial benefits emerge as practices change on farms. One of the main motivations behind farmers joining group was to learn and to get more information and new ideas.“

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Teagasc is committed to further developing discussion groups as a means of engaging with farmers. The publication of this report is timely as we reach the end of the current BTAP Programme. Teagasc is committed to working with farmer discussion groups towards improving the technical efficiency and profitability on beef farms.”

The report found that three quarters of participants intend to stay in groups after the BTAP scheme comes to an end. Teagasc has worked closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine throughout the development and implementation of BTAP.

Teagasc Beef Specialist, Aidan Murray, said the report has made important recommendations that will enable Teagasc to continuously improve its delivery of beef discussion groups by supporting and training facilitators and actively engaging farmers in the group process.