Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

In brief: Scheme adds 1,200 animals

Around 1,200 extra animals will be added to the national kill as a result of the once-bred heifer scheme.

Around 300 farmers expressed interest in signing up for the Dawn Meats scheme, which allows a Continental heifer to produce one calf before slaughter.

Following on-farm inspections, approximately two-thirds of the interested farmers have been approved for entry into the scheme.

Under the terms of the scheme, heifers produced to the required specification will be paid the same as the QPS base price for steers.

Concerns over audit standards

Debudding and castration of calves over the age limits without veterinary supervision, as required by the Beef Quality Assurance Scheme, has emerged as one of the key areas where farmers are failing to meet audit standards.

Other issues include poor animal records, inadequate records of purchased feeds and adding minerals to home-mixed diets without the correct licence.

Auditors have also highlighted that some farms do not have a sketch of vermin bait points or a farm safety statement in place.

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Farmers get nutrition tips

The benefits of adding ground limestone to a cattle diet is more likely to be as a result of an underlying deficiency of calcium in the diet than any buffering of the rumen, Teagasc nutrition expert Siobhan Kavanagh told farmers.

"I believe that any improvement in performance is likely to be where lots of cereals are fed in the diet and the issue is really that the diet was low in calcium," she said, responding to a farmer's question.

Irish beef fills Argentina gap

Irish beef "seamlessly" replaced Argentinian beef on the German market when beef imports into Europe from the South American state fell by 50pc.

"German consumers didn't notice the difference," Paul Nolan from Dawn Meats said.

"Now we could take that as an insult or a compliment but I think we should take it as a compliment because the Argentinian beef was pampas or grass-raised."

He added that if Argentina resumed exporting to Europe, it would be with a meal-fed beef product.

"I think we would have a great chance of keeping them out," he said.

Irish Independent