An output of 859kg livestock produced per ha compared to a Northern Ireland benchmarking average of just 465kg per ha!
The outstanding ‘take home’ fact from the National Beef Association evening event hosted by Sam Chesney at Kircubbin, Co Down.
Oisin Murnion, NBA NI Chairman, describing this as, “One of the best farm walks I was ever at with a great debate between host farmer Sam and Welsh grassland consultant Charlie Morgan producing plenty of food for thought.
“No wonder over 200 attended with everyone staying on for a Simply Irresistible BBQ by Alex Berry afterwards and informal debate allowing farmer to learn from fellow farmer. A truly excellent evening organised by the NBA in co-operation with the Ulster Grassland Society and sponsored by the Ulster Bank.
“Thanks to Ann Calwell and team from the Ulster Bank for this support and for attending on the night to assure beef producers that finance is available for viable agricultural investments.”
Those attending the NBA event heard how Sam Chesney uses very detailed farm records on which to base management decisions. Knowing what is actually happening has produced informed decisions producing an output per suckler cow of £857, more than £109 above the average of CAFRE benchmarking farms. The award winning Ards farmer certainly controls variable costs of £365 comprising grassland £155, concentrates £131, veterinary and sundries £79, which is £48 below the average of NI benchmarking suckler beef enterprises.
Pleasing figures produced by a huge emphasis by Sam on quality – quality stock, quality grass, quality performance and quality of life style. The Kircubbin farmer making time enjoy life beyond the end of the lane including serving on the NBA regional committee where he does much good work in the area of animal health polcy.
Sam Chesney’s stated aims are:
• Selecting breeding stock for market requirements using EBVs to select bulls is key to his high level of performance as regards calving ease, docility, DLWG and muscling. When selecting heifers emphasis is put on docility and past performance of their dams.
• Improving suckler herd fertility by calving at 24 months. A tight calving pattern is achieved as bulls are only in for 10 weeks with the suckler herd. Anything not in calf is culled, being sold live in Ballymena Mart even if they are the best animals! Sam works closely with AFBI on researching the way forward to reduce the age at first calving.
• Maximum performance at grass. Use of productive varieties of ryegrass, clover and minimum chemical nitrogen with regular soil analysis a must.
Grassland consultant Charlie Morgan from Wales led the debate in improving grassland management urging farmers to get a spade, dig up sods and check for worms and the direction of cracks to see if sub-soiling needed.
Charlie suggesting that if reseeding ploughing is still the best, although there is a place for minimal cultivations. Both Sam and Charlie are adamant that the use of top performing varieties of perennial ryegrass makes sound farm financial sense. As does measuring grass growth with a plate meter or a meter card.
• Monitoring performance, both physical and financial, is a must for Sam Chesney as how can progress be made if you do not where the farm business has been and is now? Sam’s figures compared to the CAFRE benchmarking average are;
Average DLWG bulls 1.35kg/day, benchmark average 1.11
Average DLWG heifers 0.77kg/day, benchmark average 0.73
Average DLWG steers 0.95kg/day, benchmark average 0.85
Total concentrates fed 758kg, benchmark average 1244kg
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Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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