The Teagasc National Beef Conference will take place as a virtual event next week in the form of a live, hour-long, interactive webinar.
The state agency is hosting the virtual event at 8pm on Tuesday, December 1st, Wednesday, December 2nd and Thursday, December 9th.
It will present the latest beef research from Teagasc Grange and provide the best technical advice for beef farmers.
Speaking in advance of the Teagasc Virtual Beef Conference, Pearse Kelly, Head of Drystock Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said:
“The webinars will address practical topics, in terms of improving animal performance, ensuring good health and welfare for beef cattle and the opportunities in grass-based beef production.”
“We will focus on how to optimise animal performance over the winter period with a variety of contributors sharing their expertise and experience.
Teagasc will address reducing feed costs over the winter and exploiting compensatory growth at pasture on the first evening of the conference.
Research from Teagasc Grange has shown that there is little point in over feeding weanlings during the winter but that growing cattle too slowly will reduce their ability to compensate at grass later in life.
Dr. Mark McGee will address the optimum daily gain for weanlings over the winter months. Teagasc cattle specialist. Martina Harrington, will outline the steps beef farmers should take to reach these targets.
In recent times, there have been suggestions at EU level that the space allowance requirements for cattle on concrete slatted floors should be increased substantially above the current recommended levels. For finishing cattle, it could mean an almost doubling of the pen space required.
There have also been calls for concrete slatted floors to be phased out and replaced by more ‘welfare-friendly’ floor surfaces.
Second evening of Teagasc Virtual Beef Conference
Dr. Bernadette Earley will outline the results from recent research trials that address both the effect of space allowance and underfoot conditions on indoor finishing cattle performance and welfare.
On the same evening, Dr. Doreen Corridan from Munster Bovine will outline the most important vaccinations to give to suckler cows pre-calving.
Third evening of Teagasc Virtual Beef Conference
The third evening of the conference is focusing on the increasing interest there is in beef that is predominately grass fed.
Also, Dr. Edward O’Riordan will present some of the results from an on-going trial in Teagasc Grange. Cattle purchased as weanlings are being fed entirely through to slaughter on grass or grass silage and zero concentrates.
Lastly, Padraig Brennan from Bord Bia will speak about the new Grass-Fed Standard for Irish beef. Qualifying animals must have a lifetime diet of at least 90% grass and grass forage on a fresh weight basis.
Speaking in advance of the conference Padraig said; “Consumers strongly associate Ireland with grass-fed production and, in many ways, of all the strengths that our beef system possesses, grass-fed is the one that resonates most.”
Dr. Paul Crosson, Beef Enterprise Leader, Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation Programme said; “The programme of the beef conference this year reflects the key opportunities of the Irish grass-based production model.”
“We must optimise animal performance at all stages in the production cycle; recent research findings from Teagasc Grange will be presented highlighting the performance from ‘grass-only’ systems and the importance of indoor feeding and housing management.”
How to join
The online Teagasc beef conference is free to join, but registration is required beforehand. All three sessions are live, with the opportunity for viewers to post their questions for the panellists. Register on Teagasc’ website.