The Irish Grassland Association Beef conference sponsored by Mullinahone Co Op and MSD Animal Health will take place on Thursday June 20th in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel, Cork Road, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois. The format will be similar to previous years with an indoor conference in the morning followed by a farm walk in the afternoon. Registration for the conference will commence from 10am with the conference starting at 10.30am and proceedings wrapping up for 4pm.
The conference will focus on three areas
• Soil Health.
• Suckler Herd Profitability.
• The Irish Beef Industry- Where to from here.
Agricultural consultant John Geraghty will deliver a paper on Soil Health. John has over twenty five years research, development and consulting experience in soil management, crop production systems and rural enterprise. John will discuss what is soil health, how to access the health of a soil and the critical measures that farmers can take to ensure that their soils are in a healthy state and working for the farmer.
Teagasc beef specialist Aidan Murray is going to answer the question “Can Suckling be Profitable”. Aidan has 22 years’ experience working with farmers / advisers and the wider Beef industry. In 2008, Aidan took up the role of Programme Manager setting up and developing the Teagasc / Farmers Journal Better Beef Farm Programme, since 2014 he has responsibility for providing beef advisers with technical training and Discussion Group development. With a suckler herd of his own in Donegal he has a keen interest in grassland, breeding and animal health.
Beef farmer and former editor of Irish Farmers Journal, Matt Dempsey is uniquely placed to comment on the Irish Beef Industry. Matt will outline his views on the current state of the beef industry and look forward to the future that lies ahead for over 100,000 livestock producers. The Irish Grassland Association are delighted to have Matt deliver a paper at our beef conference. In 2014, Matt was the recipient of the Irish Grassland Association Lifetime Merit Award in recognition of the considerable contribution he has made to grassland farming and the Agri-Food industry over a long career as a leading opinion-maker and advocate for the farming sector.
After the three papers have been delivered Dr Stan Lalor Grassland Agro & Irish Grassland Association Council Member will chair a Forum entitled “What are the on farm options for the Beef Farmer in these challenging times.” The forum panel comprises three very successful beef farmers.
The afternoon session will be held on the farm of Ken Graham on the outskirts of Mountrath in South Laois. Ken who works full time off farm, is married to Cathy and they have two small children.
The beef enterprise will be focused on during the farm visit, comprising 55 Suckler cows with all male progeny finished as bulls under 16 months and heifers at 21 months. The 55 Suckler cows and two breeding bulls are grazed together as one group in one hectare paddocks. The 27 fattening heifers are grazed together in one group. Grassland management is excellent with the 40 ha farm laid out in 34 paddocks, with the provision for subdivision of paddocks when necessary. Good grassland management is to the fore on the Graham farm with just shy of 10 tonnes of grass dry matter/ha grown and utilised on the farm with the recent exception of the BLIP year (2018) as described by Ken. The all grass farm carries a stocking rate of 2.31 lu/ha producing a beef output of 834 kgs of live weight per ha.
Breeding performance in this spring calving herd is truly exceptional with a calving interval of 361 days achieved alongside a calving season of 9 weeks, resulting in 1.05 calves produced per cow per year. All heifers calve down at 24 months of age. The combination of excellent herd fertility combined with superb grassland management results in a gross margin per ha in 2018 of €634 – a significant drop in comparison to 2017 when a gross margin/ha of €981 was achieved. The drop in profitability is accounted for by additional feed cost incurred due to the drought in 2018.
The Irish Grassland Association is hugely indebted to Mullinahone Co Op and MSD Animal Health for their support of our 2019 Beef Conference. Speaking on behalf of the sponsors John Heslin from MSD Animal Health said “This event offers the platform to discuss beef production and share knowledge around best practice and we at MSD Animal Health are delighted to sponsor such an event”, Liam Egan From Mullinahone Co Op said “We at Mullinahone Co-op are delighted to support the IGA and in particular their Beef conference as it allows Irish beef farmers a platform to discuss the challenges ahead for the beef sector in a period of rapid change and also to look at more efficient farming practices to help improve the profit on beef farms in Ireland.”
This is an event not to be missed with a combination of an excellent indoor session and a farm visit to a part time Suckler to Beef farm achieving good levels of profitability based on good technical performance which puts the farm among the top 5% of Suckler Herds in the country.
Booking is essential so book your tickets early! To book your tickets, you can post back your booking form and payment in the prepaid envelope sent out to members. Alternatively, you can also book online at www.irishgrassland.ie or phone Maura at 087-9626483.
The beef conference will take place in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel in county Laois.
For further information please visit www.abbeyleixmanorhotel.com