Roscommon beef farmers to feature in Teagasc National Beef Open Day

By Catherine Egan
Teagasc Beef Specialist, Athenry


Teagasc are delighted to invite all beef farmers and stakeholders in Roscommon, and the Irish beef industry, to attend the national beef open day, ‘BEEF2024’, which takes place on Tuesday, June 26th, in Teagasc, Grange, Co Meath (C15PW93) from 9 am to 4 pm.

The theme is ‘Securing your future’, and this year’s event will see Roscommon’s Shane Keaveney feature in the Future Beef forum.

The focus of BEEF2024 will be on the application of technologies that will help beef farmers increase the profitability and environmental sustainability of their family farm businesses. It is a free event and all are welcome to attend.

On the day there will be two technical main stands. The first stand will focus on ‘Securing your future in beef farming’, in which the key challenges and opportunities will be discussed along with production systems to balance income and lifestyle.

The second stand is titled ‘Management toolbox for beef farms’, in which optimal suckler and dairy-beef systems will be discussed, along with driving genetic gain for beef cattle.

There will be four technical villages that attendees can visit. The first village, ‘Grassland and forage’, will feature live displays in relation to low emissions slurry application and grazing management. There will be demonstrations in relation to the use of protected urea fertilisers, calibration of spreaders and farm infrastructure.

Then, depending on your enterprise, you can choose to visit either the ‘Suckler Beef’ or ‘Dairy calf-to-beef’ village. There will be cow simulators used to demonstrate the principles of safe calving and handling of livestock. Cattle from the various suckler and dairy-beef studies at Grange will be on display. There will also be displays on calf rearing, antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance and assessing cattle for finishing.

This is followed by the ‘Advisory, Education and Opportunities’ village, which features Teagasc advisory services, education options within the farm sector, organic beef farming, renewable energy options and forestry.

Technologies and live demonstrations in relation to grazing management, animal nutrition, beef genetics, reproductive management, animal health and welfare, and farm planning will form the main focus of the day. Finally, the open day will conclude in the Forum Centre where there will be an opportunity to engage with industry stakeholders.


Panel discussions


Panel discussions covering key topics across a range of beef cattle production systems will also be held. Future Beef programme Farmer Shane Keaveney and Dairy Beef 500 programme farmer Martin Connolly will feature at this year’s national open day.

Martin Connolly has been rearing dairy-bred calves, bringing them to beef, for many years. The high level of fragmentation, combined with the general heavy nature of land in the area, brings challenges in terms of grassland management and especially grazing.

Martin purchases around 160 calves every year and sources most of the calves locally. Martin will outline the latest technologies he is using on his farm to increase profitability and sustainability of his dairy beef system. The Dairy Beef forum will take place at 12.30 pm.

Shane farms with his wife Grainne and three children in Granlahan, Ballinlough, Co Roscommon. They operate a 38 spring calving suckler system. The male calves are finished as under 16 months bull beef. The heifers are sold as forward stores. The cow type is mainly LM/SA crosses. A terminal CH stock bull is used and Shane has started to use some AI as a source for replacements. In recent years Shane has placed huge focus on maximising weight gain from grass through improving grass growth by increasing soil fertility and efficient use of fertiliser on the farm. To reduce the fertiliser bill and to improve silage quality, red clover was sown in 2023.

On the day, Shane, alongside Galway Future Beef farmer Aonghusa Fahy, will outline the latest technologies they are using on their farm to increase profitability and sustainability of their suckler beef systems. The Future Beef forum will take place at 1.30 pm.

The concluding forum of the day ‘Securing your future in beef farming’ will take place at 2.30 pm. In this forum, the main opportunities and challenges facing the sector and beef farm families will be discussed, in particular, succession and inheritance. Keynote speakers from the beef sector will outline the strengths of the sector and the potential to enhance profitability, sustainability and lifestyle.

Teagasc acknowledges with gratitude the support of FBD Trust, who will be available on the day to meet attendees.

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