Amid growing interest in multi-species swards and their potential to increase animal performance while improving herbage yield at reduced chemical nitrogen input levels, Teagasc Grange is establishing a new research project to examine their role in Irish suckler-beef systems.

The project will compare animal performance across different sward types - perennial ryegrass v multi-species swards, as well as using a combination of animal genetics.

Late-maturing (continental) breeds with varying abilities to lay down carcase fat will be examined to see if cattle can be slaughtered off herbage alone or whether concentrate feeding and/or a housed finishing period is required to achieve suitable carcase specification for fat score at a younger slaughter age.

Teagasc says that the overall objective of the study is to assess the impact of genetic divergence for fatness in late-maturing breeds, pasture type and slaughter age on the economic, biological, health and greenhouse gas emissions performance of suckler weanling-to-beef production systems.

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