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Beef Newsletter - April 2022

06 April 2022
Type Newsletter

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In month's edition:

  • Fodder supplies
    We are living in unprecedented times. On Thursday February 24 the unthinkable happened, Russia invaded Ukraine. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine. This invasion has sent shockwaves across the world, adding to the upward pressure on input prices, and drawing into question the availability of supply of key inputs. Our immediate concern is can we get fertiliser, but as we move later in the year, will there be a supply of cereals for concentrates, etc.? We do not currently have a fodder crisis; however, if we do not act early enough and ensure we conserve enough fodder for next winter, we may well run into a problem. As 70-75% of grass is grown by the end of June, we need to act now.
  • Incorporating clover on beef farms
    Incorporating clover in grassland swards has the potential to reduce costs, improve profitability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Impact at farm level
      On suckler farmers, research has shown that incorporating clover into grass swards increased profitability by 14% for the grass/clover system, when compared to a ‘conventional’ pasture system.
    • How it works to reduce emissions
      Successful incorporation of clover means less chemical N spread and less greenhouse gases emitted. Nitrous oxide is one of the three main greenhouse gases and is given off primarily from slurry stored, slurry spread, and chemical N fertiliser spread. Incorporating clover into grassland reduces the demand for chemical N.
    • Actions farmers need to take
      Over a five-year period, aim to have white clover in 100% of your paddocks (at a minimum average annual sward clover content of 20%). Select paddocks now that are suitable for reseeding or oversowing.
  • Research Update - Quality check
    Aidan Moloney, Mark McGee and Edward O’Riordan of Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Co. Meath report on meat quality characteristics from grass-fed suckler bulls and steers. Bulls are usually finished indoors on high-concentrate rations. Finishing bulls from pasture decreases production costs, but would the colour and eating quality of grass-fed bull beef be inferior to grass-fed steer beef?