Maximising grass growth on beef farms; what the science of breeding can do to increase the chances of genetic gain in the Beef herd; and Beef producers –connecting with the final consumer will be discussed at the upcoming IGA Beef Conference.
The Irish Grassland Association Beef Conference will play host to the event, sponsored by Mullinahone Co-Op and MSD Animal Health on Thursday, May, 24th in the Clonard Court Hotel, Dublin Road, Athy, Co. Kildare.
Suckler-to-beef farmer Ger Dineen, Beef Enterprise Award Winner Grassland Farmer 2017 will speak at the event. In his presentation, Ger will outline how he achieved a beef output figure of 999kgs live-weight/hectare on a heavy farm, by targeting grassland management to grow and utilise high quantities of grass.
Teagasc Research Geneticist Dr Donagh Berry will try to answer the question “will breeding the best with the best will always give you the best”. The science behind animal breeding can be a complex subject; in his presentation, to the conference, Donagh will explain the role science has in delivering on the breeding decisions made at farm level.
The importance of beef producers making connections with the final consumer will be discussed by Professor Patrick Wall, a Vet and Medical doctor. He is uniquely qualified to comment on the issues that interest both the primary producer and consumer. In his presentation, Professor Wall will discuss the importance of establishing good connections between the primary producer and final consumer in order to achieve sustainability.
The afternoon session will be held on the O' Connor family farm in close proximity to the village of Moone, South Kildare. The farm is run as a partnership by Monica; Tom; and their son Thomas. Their mixed farm comprises of four enterprises including beef; sheep; tillage and pigs. In 2015, Thomas picked up the prestigious FBD Young Beef Farmer of the year award title.
The beef enterprise will be focused on during the farm visit, comprising 90 Suckler cows with all male progeny finished as bulls under 16-months and heifers at 21-months. Each year, 200 additional cattle are purchased for finishing comprising both young bulls and heifers.
The unique feature of this farm is the way the O’Connors paddock graze the cattle in large groups during the grazing season. The 90 Suckler cows and four breeding bulls are grazed together as one group in two-hectare paddocks,; up to 77 young bulls have been grazed in one group for the grazing season, and up 100 heifers are grazed together in one group. Grassland management is excellent with all the farm laid out in 2-ha paddocks, with the provision for subdivision of all paddocks. The three pillars supporting excellent output are to be seen on this farm namely -Breeding; Grassland Management; Livestock Management. The O’Connors are achieving an annual stocking rate of 3.3 livestock units/ha and a beef output of 1,498 live-weight/hectare. In 2017, 11.5 tonnes of dry matter/ hectare was utilised.
This is an event not to be missed with a combination of an excellent indoor session and a farm visit where the results of excellent grassland management are to be seen on a commercial beef farm. If you wish to make a booking, you can call the office on 087-9626483 or book online here.