Thousands of Farmers Attend Beef 2016 at Teagasc Grange
Production efficiency improvements are possible for suckler farming systems in Ireland and can lead to substantial increases in profitability. That’s was the message from Beef 2016, the Teagasc Open Day sponsored by FBD Trust, at the Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation Centre in Grange, County Meath today, Tuesday, 5 July.
Speaking at Beef 2016, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said: “The cattle and beef sector is of huge national economic importance, not just to the agricultural sector but to the entire economy. Annual beef output exceeds half a million tonnes, with 90% exported to EU and international markets. The emphasis at today’s Beef 2016 event is on those profitable technologies that will underpin the future sustainability of the beef sector.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD pictured with Tom Kelly, Director of Knowledge Transfer, along with the Education and Training Staff, Teagasc were pictured at the Beef 2016 Open Day at Teagasc, Grange, on Tuesday, 5 July.
At Beef 2016, Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that “supporting the Irish beef sector to realise its full potential is one of the priorities of this Government and mine as Minister for Agriculture. Teagasc has a central role in the development of the sector and today’s successful open day in Grange is an excellent example of the hard work, dedication and commitment of Teagasc to Irish farming. The need for a strong input from Teagasc is greater than ever particularly in assisting the development of farm enterprises, achieving greater uptake of new technologies, delivering research and environmental advice on farms, educating and training students and adult farmers and supporting science-based innovation in the agri-food industry. We have seen from programmes such as Teagasc’s Better Farm Programme an example of the best Teagasc research and technology being translated into action on farms, with positive measureable results for those farmers involved.”
“The four main variables influencing the profitability of suckler beef enterprises are grass production and its utilisation, animal performance, and stocking rate,” according to Teagasc Beef Enterprise Leader, Dr Eddie O Riordan. “Increasing grass production requires good soil fertility and perennial ryegrass dominant swards, while a good farm paddock system and the use of grass budgeting tools will increase pasture utilisation. To maximise animal performance, good fertility and reproductive performance is required, with the objective to produce one calf per cow per year. The breeding policy must also aim to maximise live weight gain. Economic analysis of suckler calf to beef systems in Grange has shown that, where individual animal performance is high, stocking rate is the key driver of profitability.”
Blueprints for dairy calf-to-beef systems were highlighted given the increase in the number of dairy calves available for beef production, arising from the increase in the national dairy cow herd. Pearse Kelly, Head of the Teagasc Drystock Knowledge Transfer Department, said: “Various production systems can be employed on dairy calf-to-beef enterprises depending on the breed type, gender and finishing system.
The most successful systems are those that optimise animal performance from grazed grass and achieve a high proportion of total life time gain from grazed grass. Profitability is vulnerable to increases in concentrate input costs and calf purchase price, as well as the selling price of beef.”
Among the highlights at Beef 2016, was the grassland village which included a grass reseeding demonstration showing different establishment methods for reseeding pastures and a grazing infrastructure demonstration showing examples of setting up a simple paddock system with water, fencing and roadways.
A major farm safety exhibition highlighted the dangers on farms and the risks faced by farmers, their families and those working and visiting farms.
At the young farmers forum five young farmers outlined their own beef systems and the technologies they have implemented on their home farms.
The full proceedings for Beef 2016 and the beef forum booklet are available below.