Better animal health ‘can help beef farmers return to profitability’

Improving animal health can help struggling beef farmers work their way back towards profitability, according to the organisers of a series of beef health conferences.

Animal Health Ireland, Teagasc, the Irish Farmers’ Journal, and Veterinary Ireland have teamed up to host these very important information meetings focusing on animal health at a critical time in the farming calendar.

AHI chief executive Joe O’Flaherty said: “We are very conscious of the financial challenges facing farmers in both [beef and dairy] sectors and the objective of these events is to provide farmers with information to improve profitability through better animal health.”

AHI and its partners plan to host a series of Beef Health Nights and a Dairy Herd Health conference.

The Beef Health Nights will take place from 7pm on October 21 in the McWilliams Park Hotel, Claremorris, and on October 22 in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore.

The Dairy Herd Health conference, which is a one-day conference, will be held in Corrin Mart, Fermoy, Cork, on October 23. Both events are sponsored by Bord Bia.

Teagasc director Prof Gerry Boyle said: “Keeping your dairy and beef herds healthy is smart farming. Managing your livestock’s health through all stages, from the cow before mating, through the care of the young calf, to the weanling and finishing stages is the foundation of profitable milk and beef farming.

“These events will provide the latest advice and information on the best ways to plan and manage your herd to achieve profitable production.”

The Beef Health Nights will cover topics such as parasite control, nutrition and pneumonia in cattle, while the programme for the one-day Dairy Herd Health Conference will include presentations on mastitis control, rearing healthy heifers, lameness, parasite control, bio-security and genetics.

Veterinary Ireland chief executive Finbarr Murphy said: “A planned approach to animal health issues at farm level can lead to significant productivity gains for Irish farmers.

“Taking the time to sit down with your veterinary practitioner and putting in place an animal health plan for your farm will lead to improved productivity, animal welfare and profitability.

“Such an approach to dealing with animal health issues will be increasingly important in the context of an expanding dairy sector and in order to further exploit the potential of our beef industry, and is consistent with the environmental sustainability objectives of an expanding agricultural sector, in the context of Food Harvest 2020 objectives.

“Looking after the health of the herd provides two benefits; firstly, peace of mind that clinical and sub clinical disease is being effectively managed, and secondly increased farm productivity.

“Teamwork with the vet, farmer and other advisers is key to achieving these goals.”

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