ABP Food Group held an open day on their demonstration farm in Co. Carlow last Tuesday 25th July. The presentations on the day looked at multi-species reseeding, animal nutrition, herd health plans and showed the impact genetics has on animal performance. Two Hereford sired heifers out of similar genetic merit dairy cows, were used to illustrate this impact. Both heifers cost the same at purchase and moved on to the trial farm the same week in Feb 2022. Both heifers were sired by AI sires, with one heifer sired by a lower value DBI bull and the other a high value DBI bull. The heifers received the same feeding, treatments and management but the difference in liveweight of the 2 heifers (now at 17 months of age) was over 80kg in favour of the heifer sired by the high value DBI bull. The predicted difference at slaughter of the two heifers will be 50kg Carcass Weight, equating to approximately €250 difference in carcass value.

With the introduction of the National Genotyping Programme, there will be a higher proportion of calves born in dairy herds that will be genotyped at birth and will in turn have a Commercial Beef Value (CBV). CBV is a new tool for non-breeding beef farmers which will give a better insight into an animal’s genetic merit. It comprises of five traits from the Terminal Index that are important to a non-breeding drystock enterprise. The CBV is expressed as a € value like the Replacement and Terminal Indexes. Generally higher CBV values will mean better performance and higher carcass value.

At the end of the tour a presentation was made to 6 farmers who were the winners of the ABP Farm Supplier Sustainability awards. The winners were selected based off the herds performance of animals that were slaughtered in ABP sites during 2022. This information is displayed in the Beef Benchmarking report which is available to all herds (who slaughter a minimum number of animals) on the ICBF website in the reports section.

The Beef Benchmarking report compares the carcass performance of each animal type, ie. Suckler steers, dairy beef heifers etc. Their performance is then benchmarked on Carcass Conformation, Weight, Fat, Age and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Output against the national average and top 10%. The GHG output is calculated on an individual animal basis and averaged for the group. The total GHG Output is also divided by the Carcass Weight to give GHG output per kg of Carcass. There has been over 10000 reports posted to ABP suppliers this year. The winners of the awards were;

Suckler Steers – Patrick Flanagan from Ennis, Co. Clare

Suckler Heifers – Michael Clifford from Kilbrin, Co. Cork

Suckler Bulls – Michael Cassin from Inistiogue, Co. Kilkenny
Dairy Beef Steers – The Ryan family from Co. Tipperary
Dairy Beef Heifers – Vincent Lynch from Ballinspittle, Co. Cork
Dairy Steers – Declan Hickey from Co. Kilkenny

A big congratulations to the winners of these awards which demonstrates the efficiency and sustainability of their production systems. The Beef Benchmarking report can be used as a tool to help improve economic and environmental sustainability by allowing herds to benchmark performance on important KPI’s.

For more information on the Beef Benchmarking report, contact the HerdPlus office on 023-8820452 or email [email protected]