THE recent Spring Drystock and Sheep Seminar at Twomey’s Bar, Castletownbere, organised by Barrett Agri, attracted a large attendance from the Beara area.
The speakers noted the positive outlook for farming from the recently-improved markets. Brian Reidy of Premier Farm Nutrition commented on the present market for beef: While weight and age restrictions are not an imposition on the sale of finished stock at present, the demands from Quality Assurance and Origin Green schemes mean markets will reward better produce.
He said that carcase quality will become an issue, as there is a growing reliance on animals coming from dairy herds for beef replacements. Beef farmers also have to contend with the renewed challenge of competition from dairy farmers for rented land. The continuing obstacles against live shipping and beef imports are also ever-present issues.
Mr Reidy also stated that current beef market requirements are achievable. Finished beef at 15 months is possible where animals are kept at optimum performance every day on our farms. Targeted feeding particularly to younger animals and the use of quality forages including grazed grass are essential to achieve these goals.
PJ Hegarty of Southern Milling reminded farmers of the nutrition demands of the ewe. He advised the audience to be conscious of the growing energy and protein requirements of the ewe around the stages of lambing and early lactation. The disappointing silage quality on most farms may require increased levels of supplementation. He noted that particular vigilance around the ten days of lambing can prevent losses .
David Morgan of Caltech-Crystalyx highlighted the importance of maintaining health and thrive in stock post-turnout. Optimising stock health by getting the basics right can improve profitability in this low-margin industry.