The XLVets Ireland beef road show kicked off in Ballyhaunis on Monday evening, August 27th, to a packed mart of suckler and beef farmers.
This marked day one of the event and was followed up by another of the same last night, August 29th, in Tullamore Mart in Co. Offaly. The aim of this event was to try and help farmers get more from their weanlings, improve their herd health and farm bottom line. The events, which are being supported by XL Skillnet, MSD Animal Health, Munster Cattle Breeding Group, Progressive Genetics and Chanelle Veterinary, have been approved by the Department of Agriculture for farmers participating in its Knowledge Transfer(KT) discussion group programme.
To commence with, each evening began its focus on breeding and the various ways to help improve the genetics of your herd, which in turn will increase profits. This portion of the event was carried out by Dr Doreen Corridan and Rose Goulding of Munster Cattle Breeding Group.
“It’s all about getting that extra weanling per batch.” Doreen explained to the crowds in Ballinasloe on day one.
The breeding portion of the evening focused on topics such as the benefits of using vasectomized bulls and other options available to farmers to try and tighten up the calving period. Synchronization was also another focal point, with Doreen and Rose offering practical advice on choosing sires for your dams, what sires to use for maiden heifers, the current top AI choices available, and the sires to use when breeding replacement heifers.
Next up the roadshow focused on nutrition, with Ciaran Lenehan of Chanelle group touching on topics such as Body Condition Score, the different feed types available to farmers, the benefits of these different feeds and his own personal experiences.
Westmeath GAA and MSD’s John Heslin was the next in the limelight, as he discussed all things management. John, a suckler farmer at home, began by focusing on purchasing weanlings. He offered various insights on what to do when going to the mart, such as finding the perfect place to stand, inspecting the animals prior to the sale, what to look for in a weanling when purchasing and getting the vaccination history from the previous owner. John then moved onto when the weanlings get home from the mart and what best to do.
Johns top tip was to leave the new batch int the sheds for up to a week after purchase. He says this allows you to keep an eye the animal’s health and also allows the time to settle.
“It is nerve wracking for me standing here in the ring in front of you wall watching, so you can imagine how scary it is for the small weanling, John said.
The final three topics touched upon was housing, animal health and vaccinations. Suzanne Naughton, technical veterinary advisor of MSD, offered farmers advice on vaccinations and the different options available to them. Meanwhile XLVets Donal Lynch and Conor Geraghty then highlighted how important ventilation can be in housing when preventing illnesses such as pneumonia. They then gave various different options of what farmers can do if they carry out a ventilation test and need to improve their housing system.
Each night was topped off with a prize giveaway, with prizes valued up to €300, as well as a live showcase on cattle in the ring of BCS and the different genetic traits to look for when breeding. There are five more events remaining, with the next in Roscommon mart tonight, August 30th. John Heslin will be on our Snapchat again tonight and we will be live streaming the event on Facebook. Each event kicks off at 7pm sharp and runs until about 9pm. You can watch the Facebook live footage of the speakers here.
Remaining events -
Thursday 30th August – Roscommon Mart;
Monday 3rd September – Cootehill Mart;
Monday 10th September – Ennis Mart;
Tuesday 11th September – Castleisland Mart;
Tuesday 18th September – Kilkenny Mart.