Teagasc launch the second phase of dairy calf to beef programme

Longford Leader Reporter

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Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director; Programme Advisors Alan Dillon, David Argue & Sean Cummins along with the participating farmers and industry sponsors at the  Tullamore Court Hotel

Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director; Programme Advisors Alan Dillon, David Argue & Sean Cummins along with the participating farmers and industry sponsors at the Tullamore Court Hotel

The second phase of the Teagasc Green Acres Dairy Calf to Beef Programme was launched by Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle at a function in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Tuesday, April 9.

The programme aims to share information from 14 participating farmers with beef producers right across the country to help them improve the performance of their businesses. This is a joint industry funded initiative that is supported by MSD Animal Health, Volac, Corteva Agriscience, Liffey Mills, Munster Bovine, Drummonds and AgriLand.

Speaking at the launch Professor Gerry Boyle said: “I’m delighted to launch the second phase of the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme. I would like to thank all of the beef farmers and their families who have agreed for their farms to be used as demonstration farms. I would also like to thank our industry partners who are funding this innovative programme, and our media partner, AgriLand.”

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The programme will follow the progress made over the next three years by 14 beef farmers who are all buying dairy bred calves. It follows on from the very successful first phase of the programme that ended in 2018.

Two dedicated full-time programme advisors will work closely with each of the farmers, where they will focus on improving their overall farm profitability through better grassland management, calf rearing skills, animal health, financial management and overall farm planning.

The first phase of the programme clearly demonstrated that where the participating farmers focused on the key drivers of profitability in calf to beef systems, there was a substantial increase in both their output and profitability per hectare.

Each of the farms will have the performance of their stock monitored on a regular basis, will complete a Teagasc eProfit Monitor annually, will record their grass covers weekly on PastureBase Ireland and will have a three year plan including a whole farm nutrient management plan drawn up for them.

General Manager of MSD Animal Health Ireland, Fergal Morris said: “On behalf of the industry sponsors of the Teagasc Green Acres Dairy Calf to Beef Programme we are delighted to be involved in sponsoring this exciting farm programme. Demonstrating best practice on beef farms, from purchase through to finish of dairy bred calves, in systems that are sustainable and profitable is a key goal of the programme.”

Alan Dillon, Teagasc Cattle Specialist and manager of the new programme said the main aim of the programme is to share information learned with a wider audience.

He said, “One of the main objectives is to disseminate the information generated on these 14 farms to the wider audience of beef farmers who are practicing, or considering a calf to beef enterprise on their farm.

“This will be done through a variety of methods including media, technical notes and on-farm events over the three years of the programme.”

To learn more about the Teagasc Green Acres Dairy Calf to Beef Programme and to meet the participating farmers visit the teagasc website at www.teagasc.ie/GreenAcres