Teagasc vows to put Grange herd back on track
Published 28/09/2010 | 05:00
Teagasc's head of animal and grassland research, Pat Dillon, has vowed to right the wrongs of the floundering beef research programme at Grange, Co Meath.
The Teagasc boss also indicated that staff changes will follow from the blunders made at the research farm.
This follows the news that a series of errors will see nearly half of the Derrypatrick herd at Teagasc's beef centre in Grange being culled. The 122-strong herd of heifers has been assembled since 2008 at a cost of around €1,000 each. However, due to a combination of is management and fertility issues, only 60pc of the herd are now back in-calf.
Basic farm management principles were ignored when first-calf heifers were artificially inseminated on their first cycle after calving. Standard practice is to let first-calvers cycle at least once before starting a breeding programme.
It has also emerged that two Belgian Blue stock-bulls, bought at a cost of more than €14,000, were introduced to the herd just two weeks before they were put to work. It now turns out that one of the bulls failed to get any of the cows pregnant.
"The farmer that we bought the bulls from said he had calves on the ground from both of the bulls and we don't dispute that," said Mr Dillon.
"There's no doubt that mistakes were made but lessons will be learned from this episode."