A number of key messages were stressed to farmers attending the suckler farmer information nights that took place around the country place in recent weeks.

The events, which were a joint collaboration between Animal Health Ireland (AHI), the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Teagasc, came to a close with the final meeting in Ballybay on Tuesday.

Speaking to AgriLand after the event Pearse Kelly, head of drystock knowledge transfer at Teagasc, said: “The nights went really well. The attendance was brilliant, there was in the region of 80 and 100 people on average at the meetings, with up on 200 attending the Ballybay meeting.”

Some key messages were given to farmers at the events, Kelly noted. “Teagasc was focusing on management of the suckler heifer to calf at 24 months. It has been shown that this system does pay for farmers,” he said.

According to Kelly the ICBF focused on its new beef indexes and latest breeding developments from their research. “Farmers when they are buying a bull need to start looking at these indexes, be it the maternal index for replacements or the terminal index for slaughtering,” he said.

The AHI also took part in the event. Kelly commented that its  focus was in the area colostrum management and its importance in the production of healthy calves. They also looked at IBR and options for controlling the diseases in terms of vaccination protocol.

“A novel part of the meetings was the parasite control session,” noted Kelly. This element of the meeting contained a live dissection, to demonstrate the different types of fluke. Farmers were given advice on the different products available to treat the parasite and when the best time is to use certain products.

Pictured farmers gathering at a recent suckler beef information meeting/courtesy Teagasc