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Better Farm Beef Open Day

A national suckler beef open day will take place on the farm of Tom Halpin from Robertstown, Carlanstown, Kells Co. Meath on Wednesday, 9th July.

Tom Halpin joined the Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER farm beef programme in 2012. This is a joint industry programme between Teagasc and the Irish Farmers Journal, with support from stakeholders, Kepak, Dawn Meats, ABP and FBD. It is aimed at improving the profitability of 32 beef farms situated in every county throughout Ireland and using these farms to transfer knowledge to all interested beef farmers.

As part of the programme participating farmers complete a 3 year farm plan and make changes within the farm gate to increase the profitability and sustainability of their farms. Areas concentrated on include farm output and financial planning, grassland management including growing and utilising more grass, breeding and fertility in the suckler cow and also animal health to have a healthy suckler herd.

Teagasc advisers Ned Heffernan and Peter Lawrence have assisted Tom Halpin in making steady progress towards the target of achieving €1,000/Ha Gross Margin within 3 years of joining the programme. Tom farms 63 hectares (155 acres) and runs a suckling to weanling system with 90 cows calving in the 2014 calving period. Calving takes place in February/March and June/July. Cows are mainly Limousin / Simmental cross with a terminal sire Charolais bull used to produce top quality weanlings. These weanlings are either sold for export or to a feedlot for finishing. Since 2011 stocking rate on the farm has increased from 1.49 L.U. /Ha to 2.09 L.U. /Ha and gross margin has increased from €575/Ha in 2011 to €757/Ha in 2013, or a 31% increase over the past 2 years. This increase is as a result of ceasing to rent con-acre and increasing output on the owned land, increasing soil fertility, increasing number of paddocks and growing more grass. Topics to be covered on the day include:

  • The Halpin Farm System and Farm Plan - “How to increase output in a weanling system”
  • Grassland Management-“ Paddocking my farm”
  • Sire Choice and Weanling markets-“ The €1000/ Ha Gross Margin challenge”
  • Herd Health- “A Healthy Suckler Herd”
  • Breeding and Genetics- “The ideal suckler cow for a weanling system”

Experts from Teagasc, Bord Bia, ICBF and other stakeholders will be present on the day to answer farmers questions. A full range of stock will be on display.

Two farm tours will take place, the first at 2pm and the second at 6pm

Commenting on the open day BETTER farm programme manager, Adam Woods Teagasc beef specialist, said: “The open day on Wednesday, 9th July affords farmers an excellent opportunity to come and see a well-run suckler to weanling system. Tom Halpin has an excellent cow base from which he is consistently producing top quality weanlings suitable for feedlot finishing or export. Simple changes have been made on this farm to increase profitability and these changes could be made on any farm in the country”.

The event will be signposted from Kells, Co. Meath and the N52 from Ardee, Co. Louth. The farm is located on the Carlanstown-Nobber Road and the GPS co-ordinates of the farm are (53.798041,-6.807979).

The event is BTAP approved and farmers can sign in on the day to comply with this programme. Food and refreshments will be available.

Farmers are asked to arrive at either 2pm or 6pm as only two farm tours will take place during the day.

For further information about the open day contact Loreto Ferguson, Specialists Office, Teagasc, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan, or telephone 049 4338300