Kehoes lead way to reach gross margin of Â¤1,000/ha
We've heard about the target of €1,000/ha gross margin from suckler beef. At a Teagasc farm walk last week, the talk was of a suckler beef target of 1,000kg/ha of beef liveweight.
The event was hosted by the father and son team of Joe and Paul Kehoe, near Ballygarrett, on the east coast of Co Wexford.
Paul, last year's Macra Young Farmer of the Year, has concluded that output is the driver of profit on a beef farm. His quest to reach 1,000kg/ha is part of the drive for the gross margin of €1,000/ha.
This output strategy is working. From 2006 to last year, the liveweight output from the Kehoe's 115-cow suckler herd grew from 408kg to 788kg/ha, while gross margin almost doubled from €350 to nearly €700/ha. These figures will jump again for this year, Teagasc's Pearse Kelly told the big crowd at the farm walk.
Of course, output can be bumped up by feeding more concentrates or by switching to calf-to-beef, but the Kehoe change has been delivered within the suckler herd and mostly from management changes.
The enhanced output has come from a combination of:
•Switching from selling stores to finishing all suckler progeny on the farm;
•Tightening up the herd calving interval from 423 days in 2007 to 374 days last year;