‘Practice into Profit’ the key theme of the Teagasc National Beef Conference

The key theme of this year’s Teagasc National Beef Conference will be “Practice into Profit”, with the event taking place on Tuesday, October 4 in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

The conference will focus on the benefits of genomics to the Irish beef industry, the experience of the French maternal breeding programme and strategies for dairy calf-to-beef systems.

With an increase in the numbers of dairy calves nationally, Eddie O’Riordan of Teagasc Grange will chair the first session focusing on optimising profit in dairy calf-to-beef systems.

Meanwhile, the latest calf-to-beef research from Johnstown Castle will be presented by Teagasc Researcher Rob Prendiville.

Prendiville will provide an update on the results of the physical and financial performance of steer and heifer calf-to-beef systems.

The session will continue with a talk from Martin Kavanagh, a consultant vet, who has vast experience of calf rearing on a large scale.

He will detail the main issues that arise on many farms in relation to calf health, calf nutrition and the many environmental factors affecting performance of these types of animals.

The first session will come to end when Alan Kehoe, a Friesian calf-to-beef farmer outlines his system of steer beef production.

After returning home from Australia in 2012, Kehoe started rearing 25 Friesian calves that year and he will outline how he increased numbers to 120 this year.

The second session, which will be chaired by Doreen Corridan of the Munster Cattle Breeding Group, will focus on breeding suckler cows to maximise profitability.

The session will begin with a talk from Laurent Griffon, who is travelling over from the Institut de l’Elevage in Paris and will detail his experience of the French beef breeding programme.

Griffon will tell farmers about how French farmers have managed to make genetic progress among the main beef breeds in France.

On the other hand, a suckler farmer from Co. Tipperary, David Clarke, will explain how the accurate recording of birth weights, weaning weights and other performance data has helped him to make more informed decisions when breeding and choosing his own replacement heifers.

The final speaker of the event will be Teagasc geneticist, Donagh Berry, who will outline the future potential of genomic selection in the Irish national suckler herd.

This conference is a Knowledge Transfer approved national beef event and admission is free, with the event set to get underway at 3pm.