Major upgrade for Pallaskenry herd
The 50-cow suckler beef cow herd at one of the country's leading agricultural student training colleges is to undergo a major upgrade as it emerged it will fall short of targets.
The suckler herd is run alongside the 250 dairy cows on the 457ac Salesian Agricultural College farm at Pallaskenry, Co Limerick where 650 agricultural students are in various classes.
Derek O'Donoghue said they were aiming to demonstrate best practice as a training college but they cannot "afford to leave €6,000/yr behind us in BDGP and we have to upgrade to meet the required standard".
Currently the herd meets the required standard for 2020 but many of these animals will have left the herd by then. The younger replacement stock with four and five stars is only 40pc sufficient to qualify "so the current breeding policy will not meet target". He pointed out the calving interval is going up similar to the national situation but it is in the wrong direction.
The target for the herd is to increase the index from the herd average of €65 to €185, compared to an average of €159 in commercial herds with progeny weight gain target of 1.57kg/day on grass. He pointed out that buying in disease free stock can be difficult.