The village format allows beef farmers to choose areas that they feel are most important to them and permits one-to-one contact with Teagasc researchers, advisers and stakeholders. Many of the villages will offer practical examples and demonstrations of how technologies can be implemented on beef farms. They will also include workshops where small groups can discuss various technologies with experts in the relevant area.

Environment-Signpost Farms

The sustainable and green image of Irish agricultural products is fundamental to differentiating our agricultural exports, including beef, from our competitors’ products. Irish grass-based beef production systems are some of the most environmentally sustainable systems in the world.

However, meeting our commitment to reduce agricultural GHG emissions by 22-30% by 2030 is one of the greatest challenges currently facing the beef sector. This will require an urgent adoption of on-farm technologies identified through the Teagasc GHG Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC), as well as the development of new technologies through our research programme. In the Environment-Signpost Village, we will set out the roadmap to meeting our emissions targets.

Many of the actions that farmers are being asked to adopt are ‘win-wins’ in terms of economic and environmental sustainability, increasing profitability while at the same time reducing GHG emissions. Details of our current research to develop new strategies to reduce agricultural GHGs, including methane, nitrous oxide and soil carbon will be presented, including;

  • Current on-farm technologies which farmers are asked to adopt through the Signpost programme, including protected-urea, sustainable fertiliser use, liming, low emission slurry spreading (LESS), incorporation of clover, increasing days at grass and improving animal breeding.
  • Demonstration on the impact of soil compaction on soil structure.
  • Our researchers will discuss projects on developing strategies to reduce GHG emissions on-farm and how it is measured.
  • A live demonstration with Teagasc and ICBF staff on suckler cow genetic merit and its impact on emissions and profitability.
  • A guide to on-farm practices to help protect water quality and biodiversity on your farm.
  • Forestry specialists will be on hand to discuss a number of forestry applications, from productive forests to carbon sequestration.
  • The National Farm Survey team will be available in the village to present some of the performance data from the Signpost beef farms.
  • Some of the Signpost beef farmers will tell the story of their sustainability journey and processor representatives will give us an insight into the market demand for sustainable food and consumer sentiment.
  • Grassland

    Grassland is the most important crop in Ireland and it will play an increasingly significant role in the development of sustainable beef production systems. Many beef farms are performing well below their potential in terms of grass production and utilisation. Grassland demonstrations have received huge interest in previous years.

    The Grassland Village will again showcase grass plots to visually demonstrate, in a practical manner, the steps to manage your grassland. PastureBase Ireland will also be available on the day to showcase the use of its app, and its role on beef farms.

    This will be followed by demonstration plots of red and white clover, with advice on how to establish and manage clover on farms provided. Additionally, new research evaluating the role of clover within beef production systems will be outlined. Considering the enormous increase in the cost of fertilisers, it is now more important than ever to maximise the nutrient content in slurry. A slurry tanker with a dribble bar and trailing shoe will be on display, with practical steps provided on how to use this low emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment, as well as guidelines on how to calibrate a slurry tanker.

    The grazing infrastructure stand will outline water trough systems, paddock design and battery fencer options, as well as a live demonstration of erecting permanent fencing. Information boards and technical advice will also be available on land drainage, reseeding and choosing grass varieties, together with a detailed cost review of different feedstuffs.

    Suckling systems - Future Beef Programme

    Herd reproductive performance and health are two key factors determining output and ultimately the profitability and sustainability of suckler cow herds.

    The Future Beef Suckler Village will give advice on best practice to achieve key reproductive performance indicators, such as one calf per cow per year, 365-day calving interval, 90% submission rate in three weeks and 80% six-week calving rate in your suckler enterprise.

    The latest research and advice for successful calving at 24 months of age will also be available – this will include the rearing of replacement heifers and management of first-calvers, both pre- and post-calving.

    Teagasc researchers and advisers will offer current advice on health and welfare in the suckler herd, covering the topics of cow and calf vaccination, cow housing, diagnosing illness early and welfare around weaning time in suckler calves.

    As weaning can be a stressful time for animals, we will demonstrate the different options that are available for creep-feeding suckler calves. Finally, the latest research and performance from the Derrypatrick and Maternal research herds at Teagasc Grange, and the Newford herd in Athenry, will be reported on.

    There will be a number of livestock demonstrations in the Future Beef Suckler Village regarding calving at 24 months of age, selection of replacement heifers and weaning efficiency of the suckler cow.

    ICBF, Teagasc and Future Beef farmers will carry out a live demonstration of the selection process for replacement heifers, covering the visual assessment of the heifer and correct use of the replacement index in your decision-making.

    This will be followed up with Herdplus representatives, who will show how farmers can access their own Herdplus information and get the best value from the ICBF database.

    Weaning efficiency reports are now available to famers that record a 200-day weighing of their cows and calves.

    ICBF and Teagasc will explain how these reports are generated, and will use the Maternal herd at Teagasc Grange to demonstrate differences in cow weaning efficiency.

    DairyBeef 500 Campaign

    Growth in the national dairy cow population has resulted in a proportional increase in the number of dairy calves available for beef production. The Dairy-Beef Systems Village is focused on factors that can improve the efficiency of dairy-beef systems and that are largely controlled by management practices. The latest findings from various dairy-beef research and knowledge transfer programmes will be presented.

    The first demonstration covers the topics of calf health, management and housing requirements over the first year of life. Farmers participating in the DairyBeef 500 Campaign will be on hand to discuss their farm system and the areas for improvement identified through the programme.

    There will also be a live animal demonstration from a range of breeds and beef genetic merits, to demonstrate the use and effectiveness of the various selection indexes (Dairy Beef Index (DBI) and Commercial Beef Value (CBV)) used by dairy-beef farmers.

    The 2022-born Holstein Friesian, Angus and Aubrac dairy-bred calves will be on show, where their performance and management will be outlined.

    This village brings together the experiences of researchers, technicians, specialists, advisers and farmers involved in sustainable dairy-beef production, and they are available to address any queries you may have.

    Growing and finishing cattle

    Feed provision accounts for over 75% of direct costs of beef production. Due to the considerably lower comparative cost of grazed grass as a feedstuff, beef production systems should aim to increase animal output from pasture. Nevertheless, primary feed costs on beef farms relate to indoor/winter feeding, and especially feeding of finishing cattle. With feed-related costs at an all-time high, knowing the quality (dry matter digestibility, DMD and preservation) and quantity (tonnes) of winter feedstocks is of even greater importance this year.

    Guidance on feed budgeting and matching forage quality with appropriate levels of concentrate supplementation to achieve winter liveweight gain targets will be provided. Recent research findings on feeding ‘native’ (i.e produced in Ireland) grains (oats) and proteins (beans and peas) to beef cattle as a means to reduce reliance on imported concentrate feedstuffs will be presented. Given the requirement for agriculture to reduce GHG emissions by between 22% and 30% by 2030, slaughter age of beef cattle has become more significant. Over the past decade, age at slaughter of steers nationally has decreased by approximately one week/year, with only small changes in carcase weight, fat and conformation scores evident.

    To achieve a younger age at slaughter, attaining liveweight targets throughout the lifetime of an animal is crucial. Key performance indicators for beef production systems, including those being achieved by the beef herds in Ballyhaise, Kildalton and Gurteen, will be outlined. There will also be a live demonstration on selecting animals for slaughter at the correct level of finish or carcase fatness on the day. As herd health is a critical part of all beef production systems, guidance will be given from Teagasc staff, Animal Health Ireland personnel and from a practicing veterinarian.

    Meat quality

    The primary focus of the Meat Quality Village is on the premium end-product that farmers produce. Bord Bia will outline the sustainability and carbon footprint of Irish beef, as well as its Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS). If you are already participating in SBLAS, you will have an opportunity to discuss the carbon footprint of your farm and how it can be improved. Learn about how gaining PGI status for Irish grass-fed beef could improve international market access and potentially deliver better returns to Irish beef farmers.

    Bord Bia will share the positive feedback received on a recent major consumer-focused study on the Irish suckler brand, as well as plans for its rollout to the market. It will also detail the ever-shifting profile of our beef exports. Researchers from the Teagasc Food Research Centre at Ashtown will highlight some of the latest work on ageing of beef, biomarkers to aid with better eating quality, traceability, identification of defects such as dark cutting, and how further value can be added to meat co-products, ultimately providing a greater return on the value of the animal.

    A master butcher will show attendees where all the various beef cuts are derived from the carcase and their respective value. Meat Technology Ireland will also be present to highlight the excellent industry-focused collaborative research programme it is carrying out in conjunction with key industry stakeholders and Enterprise Ireland.

    The Meat Quality Village will hold two key presentations. The first, titled What is involved in joining SBLAS? shortly after midday will be all about how SBLAS helps differentiate Irish beef in the market as a premium sustainable product.

    Many weanling producers looking to participate in the new Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (S

    CEP) in 2023 will be required to sign up to SBLAS before the end of the year, so the presentation will go through the key aspects of what is required to join the scheme and tips and advice on successfully completing the initial audit. With beef prices at an all-time high, Bord Bia market experts will give an overview of the overall global beef market in the second presentation later in the afternoon. They will outline what has been driving demand and provide insight on how prices may play out for the remainder of 2022.

    Advisory, education and policy

    The Teagasc Advisory tent will host advisers discussing particular issues that face farms and farm households. Succession and inheritance are topics that face all farm households at some stage. Those anxious to hand over the farm and those who want to commence farming need guidance – many don’t know how or where to start these conversations. Farm income is often not enough to keep the household going, and many households are anxious to explore non-farming options to increase income.

    Again, it is not always easy to engage help on this topic. These topics can be talked through in a confidential manner with experienced Teagasc advisers. There is great interest at present in organic farming, with increased State support and renewed demand from consumers. Teagasc will have specialist staff at BEEF 2022 to discuss this. In addition, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine have a stand to discuss the TB eradication programme and on-farm issues surrounding the disease.

    Our education staff will help with your training and education questions. Students leaving secondary school might want to undertake a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture. Full-time Teagasc courses in agriculture, horticulture, equine and forestry are delivered at agricultural colleges around the country, with the option to follow-up with a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture. The Green Cert is an agricultural training programme which results in the awarding of the QQI Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming. There are also part-time Green Cert courses delivered at centres throughout the country, as well as many distance education courses for learners who have an existing non-agricultural Level 6 or higher major award and wish to pursue their Green Cert qualification. In addition to education staff from Teagasc agricultural colleges in Ballyhaise, Kildalton and Clonakilty, there will also be staff from Gurteen, Mountbellew and Pallaskenry present.

    Teagasc partner universities and technological universities will also be in attendance on the day to discuss training options in the higher education sector. The following partner universities and technological universities are confirmed to attend Beef 2022; Dundalk Institute of Technology, South East Technological University, Munster Technological University, University College Dublin and University College Cork.

    Research staff from the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development programme will be available to discuss some of the latest research findings and policy analysis on the economics of beef cattle production in Ireland.

    Topics such as the recently released 2021 National Farm Survey data, the reliance on EU CAP support payments, impacts of CAP reform and the implications of recent events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on beef and input prices will all be discussed and evaluated. Details of the competitive position of Irish beef farming will be presented at BEEF 2022.

    Farming lifestyle

    The Farming Lifestyle village will have a general focus on farm safety and areas that farmers need to be mindful of, for themselves and their families. It will also feature information on farmer workload and labour efficiency, as well as farmer’s health and general well-being. There will also be a number of live demonstrations including quad bike operation, tractor operation and visibility, working from heights, farmer health and exercise, livestock safety and slurry safety. Nurses from the Irish Heart Foundation will be present to conduct health checks for interested farmers and their family members.

    Members of An Garda Síochána will be present to provide advice on security and farm-specific road safety legislation.

    ‘Agrikids’ will be on site to offer children a wide range of activities such as animal and farm safety sign workshops, ‘spot the danger’ posters and a Farm Safety Selfie station. A live accident re-enactment will visually illustrate the sudden and devastating impact of checks and provide advice for interested farmers and their family members.

    Members of An Garda Síochána will be present to answer questions and provide advice on security and road safety legislation associated with farm vehicles and trailers.

    Agrikids will be on site to offer children a wide range of activities. These will include animal and farm safety sign workshops, activity sheets and ‘spot the danger’ posters, digital games and