Challenges to beef farmers to be tackled at Offaly conference

Charlie Flynn

Reporter:

Charlie Flynn

Challenges to beef farmers to be tackled at Offaly conference

2018 has been a high costs and challenging year for cattle farmers and beef producers. The theme for this year’s Teagasc National Beef Conference is ‘Addressing the Challenges’ and it’s taking place on Tuesday, 30th October from 3pm in the Tullamore Court Hotel, County Offaly.

The opening session of the conference will look at how research and innovation can help to address some of the issues facing the sector and improve profitability on farms. Dr. Maria Guelbenzu, from Animal Health Ireland will present the results to date from a study on a Pilot IBR control programme on Irish suckler beef demonstration farms.

In a joint paper by Dr. Donagh Berry, Teagasc and Dr. Andrew Cromie, Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, a presentation will be made on ‘How Irish beef farmers can use the new Dairy Calf to Beef Index to improve the profitability of their finishing systems.’

Over the last two years in county Leitrim, many cattle farmers have become involved in contract heifer rearing. Tom Coll, a Teagasc business and technology advisor based in Mohill will outline the experiences learned to date from a discussion group involved in rearing heifers.

Resistance to worm doses is an issue and it will be addressed by Dr. Orla Keane from Teagasc animal and Grassland research and Innovation centre, in Grange county Meath. Her paper is entitled ‘Anthelmintic resistance in beef cattle - what are the levels and what can be done to lessen its impact? ‘

Nicky Byrne was recently appointed as a beef systems research officer, with responsibility for the new dairy calf-to beef systems study in Teagasc Grange.
This study will focus on evaluating the performance of animals by sires of high and low breeding value for carcass weight within a grass-based production system.

At the beef conference Nicky Byrne will talk about getting more from grass through careful; grass variety selection for beef systems. Nicky completed his PhD on grass variety evaluations and the identification of grazing traits to influence the development of varieties to support higher herbage utilisation.

Beef farmers don’t need to be reminded about the extreme weather events this year, but there are lessons that can be learned. Teagasc beef specialist Alan Dillon will outline how the Teagasc/Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge participants coped with the weather and the effect it has on their future plans.