Teagasc has released a checklist for beef farmers to evaluate how they could improve their farm's environmental sustainability.

Some of the suggestions in the list will also help to improve farm profit.

The checklists asks farmers to check if they are doing any or all of the items listed below.


  • Using protected urea.
  • Applying lime to low pH soils.
  • Maintaining/building soil fertility (P and K).
  • Using low-emission slurry spreading equipment (LESS).
  • Reducing chemical nitrogen by 10kg/ha.
  • Incorporating clover into grassland swards.
  • Have a paddock grazing system and walk the farm weekly.
  • Producing a calf/cow/year by keeping records and culling poor/empty cows.
  • Selecting four- and five-star beef sires on the replacement/terminal indices.
  • Calving heifers at 22 to 26 months and aiming for a 20% replacement rate.
  • Have a herd health plan.
  • Improving biodiversity

    Teagasc gives farmers some tips to improve biodiversity on the farm, including allowing thorn saplings to grow up in a topped hedgerow and avoiding topping escaped hedges.

    The advice also says to let field margins to grow and allow wildflowers to bloom.

    Improving water quality

    Teagasc advises farmers to use pollution impact potential maps to identify if your farm is at risk from diffuse phosphorus/sediment or nitrogen loss to water.

    If there are areas on the farm at risk of phosphorus loss on the farm, a buffer in the form of a grass margin or hedge could be put in place to stop this loss.

    Nitrogen use efficiency should be improved to improve water quality by applying at the right time, right rate, right location and using the right product.