Over 2,000 farmers gathered at Newford suckler demonstration farm in Athenry, Co Galway this week for an open day.
The farm’s breeding policy is successfully producing calves which gain weight rapidly and will deliver carcass sizes that meet market requirements.
This year’s crop of 90 calves is on track to reach 50% of their mother’s weight within six months, with performance helped by the recent improved weather and a surge in grass growth at the farm.
Farm manager Matthew Murphy said the Newford system is all about driving efficiency and reducing reliance on factors that farmers cannot control, like the price of bought-in feed.
“We are encouraging farmers to focus on the profitability and efficiency of their farm system rather than showcasing what might be a very good looking animal, but one that isn’t what the market is looking for and cannot be reproduced consistently.
“What farmers may lose in carcass size they will more than make up for through the lower cost of production,” he said.
The 56 hectare farm was established by Dawn Meats and Teagasc in 2015, with support from McDonalds and the Irish Farmers Journal to demonstrate best practice in sustainable suckler beef production.
Professor Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc, said the open day provided beef farmers with a great opportunity to see how the application of key technologies in relation to grassland management and best breeding management practices have on the performance of suckler beef herds
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