Farmers wanted for Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme

Ireland’s dairy-beef industry has found itself propelled into the fast lane. With expansion in the national dairy herd in recent years, there has been a proportional increase in the number of dairy calves coming on stream for beef production.

The second phase of the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme was launched this week, for which AgriLand was appointed media partner.

The objective of this programme is to advise and demonstrate best practice at farm level on the rearing, growing and finishing of purchased dairy-bred calves through to slaughter.

In addition, the programme aims to show the physical and financial performance – from participating farms – through a wide range of communication strategies on AgriLand and through discussion groups and farm walks.

Where a high level of technical efficiency is achieved on beef farms, it is possible to attain a net margin per hectare (excluding subsidies) in excess of €500/ha.

The first phase of the programme was completed in March 2018 after working with 10 demonstration farms for three years.

On these farms – during this period – improvements were made in many different areas such as: calf purchasing and rearing; grassland management; animal health; forage quality; and overall farm financial performance.

Speaking on FarmLand, Teagasc’s Pearse Kelly – head of Drystock knowledge transfer – said: “We’re looking for 12-14 farmers this time – slightly increasing it and we’re in the process at the moment.

“So, there is an opportunity now for people that want to become a demonstration farm for the new Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef programme.

“We are – in the next couple of weeks – identifying farms. We are visiting farms at the moment of people that would be interested in joining the programme and we’re going to make a decision in the next 12-14 weeks.

“The simplest way to get in touch is to contact the local Teagasc advisor. They’re well aware of what the programme is and they are keen to get people within their area.”

What is involved?

Teagasc is now looking for 12-14 new enthusiastic farmers – with significant dairy calf-to-beef enterprises on their farms – to apply and become a demonstration farm in the programme.

Successful farmers – under the guidance of Teagasc’s Sean Cummins and David Argue – the dedicated programme advisors – will have the opportunity to: increase beef output; improve calf-rearing techniques; improve overall animal health; correct soil fertility issues; improve grassland management skills; produce higher-quality silage; and, therefore, increase profit margin / ha.

More information

For more information on the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme, or if you’re interested in becoming a participant in the programme, please contact your local Teagasc advisor.

The Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme is supported by: AgriLand; Drummonds Ltd; Liffey Mills; Volac; TP Whelehan; MSD Animal Health; and Munster Cattle Breeding Group.