Without producer technical innovation the outlook for beef profitability is poor was one of the key messages from Teagasc at last week’s beef roundtable meeting.

Teagasc was represented at the roundtable meeting by its Director Professor Gerry Boyle who gave explanation of the work that Teagasc is doing to disseminate information on best practice and efficient production to farmers.

Boyle noted a number of key challenges for the sector including: Low profitability at farm level, poor technical performance; needs significant technical innovation: suckler cow type needs significant genetic improvement, significant increase in productivity at farm level: better grassland management, re-appraisal of beef production system (steers v young bull; age at finishing; calving pattern)

Boyle noted that profitability per hectare with beef systems is important. But, he said there are varying risks associated with different systems. Market Risk – producers need to talk to processors, Weather Risk – can affect grassland management and silage quality, Management Risk – some systems more demanding, Facilities Required – higher costs associated with some.

A major Teagasc open day for beef farmers and the industry will take place on June 18 in Teagasc, Grange, Co. Meath, focused on the applications of technologies to help beef farmers increase the profitability of their farming business.

Key messages on the day will be in the area of innovation to improve profitability. Topics such as:

  • Maximising grazed grass in the animal’s diet;
  • Having a clear breeding strategy;
  • New replacement Index key;
  • Aiming for 365-day calving interval, calf per cow per year, calving heifers at 24 months of age;
  • Information drive similar to the Dairy EBI campaign;
  • Profitability of current beef systems;
  • Suckler steer, heifer and bull systems; and,
  • Dairy calf to beef systems incl. early maturing breeds.