The Newford suckler demonstration farm, which was established by Teagasc and Dawn Meats in 2015 on 65ha in Athenry, Co Galway, is moving to a new location in Roscommon.
Part of the land in Athenry was leased from the IDA, Ireland’s foreign direct investment agency, and in May of this year the IDA secured a new tenant for the land - Dexcom.
This meant that the Newford herd would need to vacate the farm and relocate to another farm.
Dawn Meats and Teagasc began to consult widely with stakeholders and there was a strong view the Newford suckler demonstration farm has had significant positive impact on delivering key messages to suckler beef farmers.
All of the key stakeholders involved believed it should continue on a new site, ensuring progress achieved to date could be built upon further, Teagasc said.
A range of potential sites were identified in the west of Ireland and after assessing these options, a suitable 58ha farm was selected in Roscommon and a seven-year lease on the property negotiated.
The farm identified has extensive cattle wintering facilities and some of these will be used for the Newford suckler herd, with the remaining facilities used as a specialised winter finishing beef unit.
Teagasc and Dawn Meats have identified this sector as a key component of the Irish beef industry exposed to significant business risk.
They said it has the potential to contribute significantly to achieving Ireland’s climate goals by focusing on key technologies that will help drive profitability by focusing on high-quality forage production, precision selection of cattle for slaughter, health and welfare of housed cattle, all the while working to improve the carbon footprint.
The Newford suckler herd will continue to focus on key areas of genetics of sires and dams, grassland management, mixed and clover swards and improving the sustainability of the herd.
Over the last number of years, the farm has focused on demonstrating Teagasc technologies such as a lighter dairy-cross cow type, two-year-old calving of heifers, compact spring calving, 100% AI usage, increasing carcase weights through genetic selection, younger ages at finishing while achieving market specification, grassland management, and more recently the inclusion of grass clover swards.
In 2022, the farm began measuring methane using Greenfeed technology and installed a carbon flux tower to help with measurement of carbon sequestration. These will relocate to Roscommon.