An Angus producer group/farmer discussion was held recently on the farm of James Grace, Mooncoin, Co Waterford. The speakers were the host farmer James Grace, Ciaran Conway Devenish Nutrition and Paul Nolan Dawn Meats Grannagh.
James runs a calf to beef system on his own suckler herd with a pedigree registered Angus bull running with the herd and also buys in dairy cross Angus calves. All cattle are finished off grass and the farm supplies the Dawn Meats Grannagh with certified Angus beef.
James gave an in-depth account of his grassland management strategy
The cornerstone of James successful enterprise is based on excellent grass management highlighting the following points
- Farm is stocked at 2.2 lu/ha
- Achieving grass growth of 15 tonnes DM/ha/year
- Rotational grazing using paddocks is used. Max of 5 days in any one paddock
- James is a Knowledge Transfer discussion group member participating in regular farm walks as well as grass measuring regularly on his own farm
Ciaran Conway Devenish Nutrition spoke about the importance of soil fertility and in particular emphasized;
- The rich biodiversity of soil.
- The relationships between nutrients, in particular the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the soil, and how we as farmers can influence them for the better and save significant amounts of fertilizer.
Paul Nolan, Dawn Meats Grannagh , addressed the issue of dirty cattle impacting on both the cost and market for hides, Paul brought along an example of a dirty hide to emphasize the issue.
One of the points raised in ensuing discussion was the quality of some of the calves coming from dairy herds and the impact this has on the profitability of the finished cattle.
ICBF are launching a new Dairy /Beef index which may be of assistance in identifying more profitable progeny.
We at Angus Beef Ireland would encourage farmers purchasing calves or cattle intended for the certified Angus scheme to purchase animals from trusted and reliable sources.
When registering home bred calves the correct breed should be assigned and if possible, include the sire details.
We would like to thank James for hosting this event, Paul Nolan and team at Dawn Grannagh