The 2021 Teagasc National Beef Conference is once again going to be an all-online event. It will be on tonight, Monday, December 6, and again on Wednesday, December 8, with start time of 8.00p.m on both evenings.

The presentations and discussions will last an hour and attendees can have their questions answered by the panelists.

The online Teagasc Beef Conference is free to join, but registration is required. Both sessions are live.

Meeting our climate obligations

Aidan Murray, Teagasc cattle specialist will chair this evening’s session. He will be joined by the new director of Teagasc, Prof. Frank O’Mara, who will give a presentation on the technologies he believes can aid beef farmers to reduce the emissions of both greenhouse gases (GHG) and ammonia.

There is no one silver bullet that will reduce emissions from a farm, but Teagasc research has shown that improving the efficiency of beef production not only improves margins on farms, but also reduces the farm’s carbon footprint.

Calving cows for the first time at a younger age; increasing the number of calves/cow/year; improving lifetime average daily gain; improving soil fertility; lengthening the grazing season; making better quality silage; breeding and buying faster growing animals; reducing Nitrogen fertiliser applications; and moving to protected urea, are all win-wins that beef farmers can employ on their farms.

There are also new technologies in the pipeline that Teagasc are currently researching that aim to reduce GHG emissions. Many of these are close to being made available to the industry and the Teagasc director will outline what these are.

Future beef research within Teagasc will be heavily influenced by the GHG reduction agenda and there are already plans being put in place for what this research should be. Prof. O’Mara will give a flavour of what Teagasc is planning.

Commercial beef value (CBV)

In the second part of tonight’s Beef Conference, Chris Daly from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) will be launching an exciting new tool for beef farmers who are buying calves, weanlings and store cattle.

The Commercial Beef Value (CBV) will be officially launched tonight and how it will operate and be of benefit to a large number of beef farmers who buy in calves and cattle will be outlined by Chris Daly from ICBF.

Essentially, it is a tool that will give these farmers an insight into an animal’s genetic merit for the five most important beef traits needed to make a profit:

  • Carcass weight;
  • Carcass conformation;
  • Carcass fat;
  • Docility;
  • Feed intake.

The Commercial Beef Value (CBV) will be expressed as a monetary value, just like the Replacement and Terminal Indexes, with both ‘within breed type’ and ‘across breed’ star ratings.

There are three ‘within breed type’ categories:

  • Suckler (beef sire and beef dam);
  • Dairy x Beef (one dairy parent and one beef parent);
  • Dairy x Dairy (dairy sire and dairy dam).

The ‘within breed type’ star rating will rank animals within that breed type. Farmers often have a set enterprise in terms of the type of animal they buy i.e. continental suckler weanlings, dairy x beef store heifers, Friesian bull calves.

The ‘within breed type’ star rating will help farmers to identify the highest genetic merit animals within the breed type of interest to them. The CBV will be available to farmers through their ICBF HerdPlus login under the ‘View Profiles’ section. It will also be displayed at marts from early 2022.

To see the full schedule, click here.