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Teagasc/Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge Open Days begin on Thursday 5th April

The third phase of the Teagasc/Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge began in 2017 with 27 new farms, located nationwide, entering into a new 3 year programme. This third phase follows on from 2 previous successful phases run from 2009 – 2016, which saw impressive increases in profitability on the monitor farms

Better Farm Beef Challenge

The third phase of the Teagasc/Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge began in 2017 with 27 new farms, located nationwide, entering into a new 3 year programme. This third phase follows on from 2 previous successful phases run from 2009 – 2016, which saw impressive increases in profitability on the monitor farms.

Phase 3 Farmers will begin to open their gates from 2018 to demonstrate the technical improvements implemented on their farms and show how they lead to increased profitability and more streamlined workloads on farm. Gross Margins on the farms following the first year of the programme increased by 25%. The target Gross Margin on farms by the end of the programme is €1,250 per hectare.

Two major farm walks will take place in April, with Gareth McCormack from Skeagh, Bailieboro, Co.Cavan hosting the first open day on April 5th at 3pm, and Glen McDermott on his farm at Annagh, Riverstown, Co.Sligo hosting on April 10th at 4pm.

On both farms, a substantial amount of AI is used on the suckler herds with a focus on using both top maternal and terminal sires. Gareth focuses mainly on maternal sires and is aiming to breed high quality replacement heifers, while Glen focuses mainly on top terminal sires, with a focus on finishing stock at a young age with a heavy carcass. The farmers will discuss on the day, how AI is used on their herds, with a focus on heat detection, sire selection and farm infrastructure for rounding up stock in heat.

The second half of the walk will focus on closing up for silage. Both farms made silage in excess of 72%DMD last year, and this has a big effect on reducing wintering costs. The farm walk will discuss how best to prepare ground for silage closing, fertilizer requirements including slurry usage, and demonstrate the cost savings that can be achieved by making top quality early silage versus late cut silage.

Both are DAFM KT approved events, and will be signposted on the day.

Gareth McCormack, Skeagh, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan Eircode A82A5R3

Thursday, 5 April at 3pm

Glen McDermott, Anagh, Riverstown Co. Sligo Eircode F52DY24

Tuesday, 10 April at 4pm

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