The theme of the Teagasc’s dairy calf-to-beef open day event is ‘advancing knowledge for an evolving industry’.

DairyBEEF2019 will take place on the beef farm at the Teagasc Environment Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, on Tuesday, May 21.

Teagasc has said that all livestock farmers are welcome and encouraged to attend the event.

According to Teagasc, the open day will feature “extensive information and analysis” of the four areas of dairy beef:
  • Systems and economics of production;
  • Genetics;
  • Calf rearing and health;
  • Sustainable grassland management.

Speaking at the launch of DairyBEEF2019, John Finn, Teagasc Johnstown Castle’s enterprise leader, encouraged all grassland farmers to come along on the day.

“The event is an excellent opportunity for farmers to hear about sustainable farming practices that are good for the environment, and good for farm profitability.

“There will be associated talks and demonstrations, and national specialists will be available for discussion throughout the day.”

Head of Teagasc livestock systems Padraig French said: “This event will have a major focus on sustainable grass production systems and will be of interest to all livestock farmers.

“It will provide an opportunity to discuss dairy-beef production with producers. There are approximately one million dairy male calves and dairy-beef cross calves now available for beef production in Ireland.

Beef farmers should evaluate dairy-beef production as an opportunity to potentially improve the profitability of their business.

“The systems and economics village at the open day will include comprehensive comparisons of different dairy beef production systems and finishing regimes, including profitability analysis.”

Farmers will be given a breakdown of the new Dairy Beef Index (DBI) and the work being carried out by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

A key message of the event is maximising production and farm efficiency from grass while reducing the effect of production on the environment.

Continuing, Finn said: “Irish livestock systems will need to meet stringent environment targets that will require increased knowledge and technology.

“Farmers attending the DairyBEEF2019 open day can hear about the latest research from Teagasc on environmentally sustainable farming that also contributes to production efficiency.

“This includes effective nutrient management, low emission slurry spreading and use of protected urea that contributes to soil fertility, protection of water quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

Calf rearing village

The calf rearing village will include practical topics, such as calf feeding, housing and health management.

Ruth Fennell, Teagasc research technologist on the calf-to-beef programme at Johnstown Castle, said: “The health of the calf is a major determining factor in the success of the calf rearing period and the overall profitability of a dairy calf-to-beef enterprise.

“Our goal is to equip farmers with the most recent research, knowledge and tools to ensure that they purchase the correct calves for their system, manage these correctly in the first number of months so that the calves reach their lifelong performance targets and leave a margin behind them.”

The DairyBEEF2019 Open Day is a Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, dairy and beef Knowledge Transfer approved event.