By Brian Daly, Drystock Advisor, Teagasc Roscommon
The aim of the Future Beef programme is to demonstrate to beef farmers how they can produce a quality product as efficiently as possible to make beef farming more profitable while also making it more environmentally sustainable.
The key objectives of this programme are to: create more sustainable and profitable farms; to reduce GHG and ammonia emissions; Improve water quality, and improve biodiversity
In this programme, there are 22 demonstration farms nationwide, two of which are located in the Roscommon-Longford Teagasc area unit: Olivia Hynes in Jamestown, Four Roads, and Shane Keaveney in Ballinlough.
Olivia Hynes farms an intensive mixed grazing enterprise, including a 55-strong suckler herd, selling the weanlings at export sales from November onwards with some of her own heifers kept for replacements annually. Olivia also has a large ewe flock, and is typical of South Roscommon farming circles.
Shane Keaveney farms 35 suckler cows on 27.46 hectares in Ballinlough, Roscommon. The bull calves are finished as U-16 month beef and the heifers are sold as yearlings or stores.
Performance on the farms participating in the programme will be recorded throughout the year. Monitoring the farms will allow us to measure the impact of improved technical efficiency on profitability and the environment. All results will be communicated though the Future Beef website, social media, discussion group visits and farm walks etc.
The farms selected are representative of their region from a size of farm, soil type, system stock numbers. They face the same challenges as their neighbours and are therefore more relatable. However, all have a very positive attitude towards suckler farming. They are willing to take on new technologies and develop efficiencies to improve profitability and reduce the negative effects of agriculture on the environment around them.
We hope to keep you informed reguarly on the progress of these two demonstration farmers throughout the course of this programme, up to date info will be available on the Teagasc Future Beef Website.
Teagasc provides a local advisory and education service to farmers. They have offices based in Roscommon (Tel: 090-6626166), Castlerea (094-9620160), and Longford (043-3341021). You can find us on Facebook @Teagascroscommonlongford, twitter @teagascRNLD and YouTube. And follow the hash-tag #RNLDwebinars for information about local farm webinars. Email: RoscommonLongfordAdvisory@teagasc.ie