5 reasons why every beef farmer should attend BEEF 2018

Teagasc’s BEEF 2018 event – a major day for the Irish beef industry – will take place at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, in Grange, Co. Meath, tomorrow (June 26).

The theme for this year’s event is ‘€nhancing Knowledge’ and BEEF 2018 will highlight technologies that will help improve the profitability of the beef sector; a key focus will also be on sustainability.

Also Read: Site map: What’s on the agenda at Teagasc’s BEEF 2018 event?

Visitors to the event have been advised to arrive early, as the event is set to be bigger and more informative than previous open days.

1. Infrastructure village

The national average of grass utilised on beef farms in Ireland stands at just 4.5t/ha (dry matter).

Grazed grass is the cheapest feed available to suckler farmers and every blade of grass that an animal eats will have a positive impact on its liveweight gain (LWG).

However, lack of adequate grazing infrastructure can be a limiting factor on a lot of beef farms and significantly reduces the amount of grass utilised each year.

The infrastructure village will highlight the key areas that can be improved on farms such as: fencing; water systems; roadways; drainage; and reseeding.

The village is situated at the start of the visitor route, in a field that has been drained, reseeded, paddocked and has new roadways and water systems put in place this year.

2. Technology villages

These villages will showcase the most innovative and up-to-date technologies available to farmers.

Live demonstrations will take place throughout the day; these villages will also allow farmers to interact with Teagasc and industry representatives.

Live demonstrations:

  • Dairy calf-to-beef – Information from the Green Acres Calf-to-Beef Programme – along with all of the latest research at Teagasc Johnstown Castle on dairy calf-to-beef systems – will be on display;
  • Animal health and breeding – this will focus on all aspects of animal health and breeding practices; Animal Health Ireland (AHI) will feature heavily in this village;
  • Grass 10 – All aspects of grassland management will be discussed;
  • BETTER Farm Beef Programme – This will highlight financial management, animal health, breeding and labour usage; the Newford Suckler Herd in Teagasc, Athenry, will also be discussed here;
  • Feed and meat quality – Areas covered will include: grass silage; recent research on concentrate feeding; finishing rations; and the most up-to-date research on meat-eating quality;
  • Environment – Good environmental practices will be discussed here;
  • Education – Experts will discuss the many education options and career paths available; graduates will also be there to explain the route they chose;
  • Health and safety – Health and safety organisations will provide tips on safety at work, keeping children safe and identification of hazards; there will also be a quad bike safety demonstration.

3. Live heifer demonstration

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Bord Bia will have a live demonstration on selecting and managing heifers that will be suitable replacements for the suckler herd.

Potential markets for culled heifers will also be discussed; this demonstration will take place numerous times throughout the day.

4. Forum

BEEF 2018 will feature a special forum: ‘Sustainable family beef farming businesses’, which will include a panel discussion with a number of successful farmers, as well as a representatives from the beef industry.

The panel discussion will be chaired by Richard Curran from ‘Dragons Den’ and RTE Radio 1 show ‘The Business’; the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed will also contribute to this discussion.

5. Cooking demonstration

A new feature of this year’s open day will be cookery demonstrations; these will take place a number of times during the afternoon.

Kevin Dundon – of Dunbrody House – will demonstrate how versatile beef is; he will also highlight ways it can be incorporated into tasty and healthy meals.

The open day runs from 9:30am to 5:00pm with free admission and parking.