Members of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) recently visited ABP’s demonstration farm in Co. Carlow to learn more about the most recent results from a collaborative research project between ABP, Teagasc and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

The research is focused on improving the all-round sustainability of dairy beef production systems through improved genetics.

The most recent set of data was discussed with 25 members of the UFU who walked the farm.

The data indicates a significant reduction in beef cattle emissions is achievable by improving genetics in the beef herd.

A potential for an emission reduction of up to 13% has been demonstrated alongside improved returns for farmers of up to €200/animal.

Liam McCarthy of ABP Northern Ireland accompanied the UFU members on the visit.

He said:

“We believe this research has the potential to play a significant role in helping the agriculture sectors in both Northern Ireland and the Republic reach their carbon reduction targets.

“ABP is already translating the learnings into our dairy-beef business model with Dale Farm known as Horizon here in Northern Ireland.

“A similar programme is up and running in the Republic of Ireland, called the ABP Advantage Beef Programme.”

The research conducted on ABP’s Demonstration Farm is based on six years of data and involves over 4,000 animals and is applicable across different beef production systems.

The farm consists of 280ac split into three main blocks on two parcels of land.

The 2021-born heifers on the ABP Demo Farm have started receiving concentrates, as the heifers and steers in the group will be finished before the 2022-born calves are housed for the winter.

However, 50% of the 2021-born cattle were weighed this month and they have an average weight of 487kg. The cattle that have been weighed had an average daily gain (ADG) of 0.92kg/head/day.

The 2022-born calves will be weighed at the end of the month. The calves had an ADG of 0.87kg/head/day and an average weight of 160kg when they were last weighed in July.