Daiygold nutritionist Coleman Purcell has said that Dairygold “can feed levels of beans far in excess of what’s being used”.

Speaking at the Irish Tillage and Land Use Society’s spring seminar, the nutritionist explained that Dairygold produces 280,000t to 290,000t of feed each year, mainly for ruminants, and Irish beans are a key part of the protein sources in this feed.

He said that 4-5kg of beans can be fed to dairy cows per head per day with grass silage and that research has shown that it isn’t until beans inclusion gets to 8.4kg that there is a fall-off in performance.

However, Coleman noted farmers would not be feeding these kinds of levels of total ration and added that he would not have enough native beans to get to a 4-5kg inclusion rate anyway.

He added that “we should be aware of the quality we produce here” and that beans are an ideal source of protein when cows are at grass, as protein levels are higher in grass than when being fed silage.

“As a nutritionist, there is every good reason to use beans. If we had more beans, we could use more and maybe that’s our focus for next year.”

Dairygold puts a focus on Irish cereals and beans and supplies an all-Irish ration to customers who request it. Two weeks ago, the co-op brought out a minimum contract price for beans of €285/t.

You can hear more from Coleman Purcell on the Irish Farmers Journal’s Tillage Podcast, which comes out this Thursday. Visit www.ifj.ie/podcasts.