‘The only way to manage performance is to measure it’

Under the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme – announced in Budget 2019 – suckler farmers will be required to weigh their animals, in order to collect data and become more efficient.

On this week’s episode of FarmLand, Heinz Eggert, who farms in Co. Kildare, described how weighing animals impacts on farm efficiency. He has been weighing animals for many years and is reaping the rewards.

“I used to be in dairy farming and when you stand in the parlour, you can see the performance of cows every day and see how much milk they’re giving for the food you put into them.

“When I started beef farming it was different, you were guessing what the cattle weights were. I find that the only way to manage performance is to measure it,” he explained.

Weighing scales

A weighing scales was purchased on Shepland’s Farm 12 years ago and Heinz hasn’t looked back since.

“12 years ago we purchased our first weighing scales and we constantly weigh our animals to make sure their performance is up to the expected weight gains we’re hoping for.”

Improving the system

Over the years, weighing systems and facilities were improved on the farm. Two years ago, electronic tags were introduced to the heard. These tags cost just €1/head extra, but make the weighing process a lot quicker and more secure.

Using the electronic tags means that tags don’t need to be cleaned and the weight data is easily recorded and downloaded onto the farm record system.

It’s a very quick and secure way of weighing without much hassle.

Heinz did acknowledge that investing in a scales is not practical on every farm, but weighing services can be availed of through organisations like the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

“I find through weighing and through knowing what’s going on with the animals, our efficiency has improved greatly. We have more efficient animals,” Heinz noted.