Teagasc is set to host a spring suckler cow conference tomorrow in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
The KT-approved (Knowledge Transfer) beef event is running from 7pm until to 9pm at the Breaffy House Hotel.
Grass utilisation, the BEEP scheme and beef market prospects will be covered at the event.
Among the speakers is John Noonan, Teagasc's business and technology adviser in Mayo. Ahead of the event, Noonan told the Irish Farmers Journal that farmers must “look at ways of making their enterprises more profitable by reducing costs”.
Noonan will be informing farmers at the event about how they can improve grass utilisation through soil fertility management, early turnout dates for stock and the use of paddock systems. He believes these strategies are under-used and could boost productivity on many suckler farms.
The use of Body Condition Scoring (BCS) as a management tool will be covered at the event by UCDs Alan Kelly. He will discuss feeding suckler cows, pre- and post-calving, and the savings which can be made by managing a cow’s BCS over the winter months.
Chris Daly, ICBF, will also be speaking at the event. Daly will outline the details of the new BEEP scheme and why suckler farmers should consider joining it. He will also give an update on ICBF programmes, including star ratings and an outline of new dates for evaluation runs.
Current market prospects for beef will be highlighted by Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats. He will discuss where beef markets are now, where they will be going forward and the market specifications involved.
According to John Noonan, the take-home message from the event is that suckler farmers must remain resilient: “It’s a huge decision to decide to get out of suckler farming. I would encourage all suckler farmers to stick with it.”