The adoption of key technologies in relation to animal genetics, grassland management and herd health are the key to increasing the profitability of beef production in Ireland.
This was the message from Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle speaking at the BEEF2018 Open Day in Teagasc Grange, on Tuesday, June 26.
Professor Boyle said: “The beef sector faces significant challenges arising from Brexit, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and climate change. However, key technologies, which are under the farmer’s control, can help farmers face these challenges and can have a large influence on farm profit.”
In relation to suckler beef production, key performance indicators were highlighted. These include achieving 0.95 calves weaned per cow per year, age of first calving of 24 months, a 6-week calving rate of 80% and achieving an average daily weight gain of 1.25 kilograms to weaning, in combination with excellent grazing management.
A new dairy calf to beef herd has been set up in Grange. The key performance indicators for dairy calf to beef include; keeping mortality below 3%, and achieving a weight gain of 0.8 and 0.9 kg/day during first and second season at grass.
Additionally, the provision of excellent quality silage for both first and second winter will have a large impact on reducing concentrate supplementation requirement.
The huge benefit of using AI in terms of increase profitability in the sucker herd was highlighted; which included much higher levels of genetic gain; large selection of high index, high reliability sires; all now being made possible with new developments in heat detection aids.
The huge potential from increasing grass production and utilisation was highlighted in the GRASS10 village. Current grass utilisation on beef farms nationally is 5 tonnes of Dry matter per hectare.
This can be easily increased to 10 t DM/ha by improving grazing farm infrastructure; correcting soil fertility, applying best grazing management practices and reseeding poor performing paddocks.
The booklet from BEEF2018 can be downloaded from the publications section https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2018/Beef-2018.pdf