We are seeing one of the biggest U-turns ever to take place in the technical advice being given to farmers by Teagasc. For decades, the clear message was that increasing farm output by matching high stocking rates to good grass growth and utilisation was key to driving farm profitability. But in the face of soaring input prices and future changes to CAP payments, the message is no longer as clear cut.

As Adam Woods reports, Teagasc modelling now shows that at €330/t for concentrates and €950/t for urea, lowly stocked farmers will deliver a similar level of profit to those stocked at higher levels. At an assumed beef price of €4.50/kg, a farm currently stocked at 2.6 livestock units (LU) per hectare will return just €16/ha more than a farm carrying 40% fewer animals per hectare, stocked at 1.6 LU/ha.