Light suckler cows 'the way forward' for beef farmers
Beef farmers need to rethink what makes a "good looking" cow, according to a top Teagasc specialist.
Ahead of the open day on Teagasc's new suckler demo farm at Athenry tomorrow, beef specialist Adam Woods said that farmers would probably be taken aback by the small light suckler cows favoured by the project.
"We're trying to move the industry forward, and we've used what we think is the most profitable type of cow to maximise grass conversion into milk for the calf," said Mr Woods.
The Newford herd consists of 93 4- and 5-star Angus cows breed from the dairy herd, with liveweights up to 20pc lighter than the typical 700kg suckler cow.
"They also happen to be the most available cows from the dairy herd, where easy calving Angus and Hereford are increasingly being used by farmers in the latter half of the breeding season.
"With the expansion in the dairy herd, this is a reality that more suckler farmers will have to realign themselves to," said Mr Woods.
The herd will be bred using 100pc AI to maximise the reliability of the bulls being used. Two Charolais sires will be used this year to get carcase weight into the calves.
"We're using bulls that are over 30kg for carcase value, and are five star for terminal index. But they are also very reliable, with over 95pc for reliability, compared to maybe 25pc for a stockbull.