2014-11-24   facebook twitter rss

Roscommon Beef Producer Supplies Italian Market

To-date in 2014, the beef market has been very challenging. Prices paid for R3 steers by Irish meat plants have fallen by more than 10% in comparison with the same period last year.

According to Bord Bia this decline is a reflection of weaker market demand, combined with a recovery in beef supplies throughout Europe. Across each of the major beef producing countries, cattle prices have deteriorated relative to 2013 levels.

Pictured L2R are Shane Naughton, South Roscommon  Cattle producer & Alan Kelly, Boyle Mills -Lakeland Dairies with two suckler cows enjoying top quality second cut silage.

Pictured L2R are Shane Naughton, South Roscommon Cattle producer & Alan Kelly, Boyle Mills - Lakeland Dairies with two suckler cows enjoying top quality second cut silage.

However the good news is that Irish exports of high quality suckler weanlings to the Italian market have recovered strongly in comparison with recent years. From January 2014 to 25 October we exported 27,677 head of cattle to Italy and this compares with 23,026 the previous year (an increase of 20 %)

The feedback that Bord Bia continually gets from meetings with retail and foodservice buyers is that they place a real value on Irish beef, produced on Sustainable, Quality Assured farms, using grass-based production systems and dedicated beef suckler herds.

Italian feedlot owners have a preference for well-shaped young cattle with the potential to put on weight quickly without laying down fat. Italian beef producers are now more optimistic because lower feed prices have greatly reduced their production costs.

Of the 1.2 million cattle imported annually into Italy, approx. 75% come from France. The French have far lower transport costs than for Irish weanlings and their purebred stock have a reputation for consistency and uniformity. However, the high-end animals exported from Ireland are becoming more popular because of their superior performance and high health status.

One of those Irish producers is Shane Naughton who farms at Ballydangan near Athlone where the three counties of Galway, Roscommon & Westmeath meet. Shane is a progressive 40 year old farmer, married to Fiona and they have two young children Abigeal (aged three) and Cillian (18 months)

He is a former member of Macra na Feirme, active in the Irish Farming Association (IFA) and also a member of his local farm discussion group. The Naughton family keep a commercial suckler herd of 100 mixed breeds. The herd is 50/50 autumn and spring calving. Shane uses two Belgian Blue and one Blonde Aquitaine bulls on his herd and the quality of his stock is first class.

Last October at Ballinasloe Winter Fair, Shane won second prize and the reserve champion for a six month old Blond Aquitaine heifer. The weight gains on this farm are very impressive according to Alan Kelly, the local technical sales representative for Lakeland dairies Boyle Mills who supply the weanling nuts on this farm.

Shane makes the most of his grassland so the cattle are fed on lots of grass, excellent quality silage (bales & pit silage) supplemented with the Lakeland Dairies Boyle Mills calf weanling nut. Shane has been feeding these nuts for the last 18 months with great success as can be seen from the excellent liveweight gain.

Last winter for the last three weeks on farm the bulls were gaining 2.1 kgs/day on around 7kgs of nuts and in recent weeks the cattle (on grass) were doing 1.7 kgs /day on 4-5 kgs of nuts. Shane says that “some of my heifers under 12 months that we sold three weeks ago were doing 1.5kgs/day on 4 kgs of nuts.

Shane has been supplying weanlings for the Italian market for over six years. This year the weanling bulls averaged 440 kgs and 11 months of age. The heifers also did well at 420 kgs at the same age.

Prices ranged from €2.80 to €3/kg. The previous year prices were as high as €3.55/kg. The expenditure on meals was around €80 so it was money well spent.

According to Alan Hurst, Technical & Product Manager with Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness their calf weanling nut is 16 % crude protein and perfectly balanced for starch, protein and fibre.

“It contains high levels of quality starch sources i.e. maize meal, and barley along with quality protein sources such as soya and distillers. In addition the ingredients include acid buff which helps stabilise rumen pH and optimise rumen function.

In an effort to meet the requirements of its livestock customers to increase farm profitability through sustainable means, Lakeland Dairies Agri division have developed Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain.

This is a new fully integrated feeding system designed to get more out of the key resources present on our farms, which in turn will increase efficiencies and farm incomes.

Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain the fully integrated feeding system launched by Lakeland Dairies, is specifically designed to cover all aspects of ruminant feed production and nutrition.

“The integrated RumiSmart Sustain feeding system is delivered locally on farm by Lakeland Agri’s technical sales team, a team of highly experienced nutritionists and technical experts, working closely with our customers on the areas of soils, forage production, animal health and supplementary feeding”.

“Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain is all about efficiency of production, sustainability, and profitability of the farm unit” says Mark Delahunty, Commercial Manager, “and the Lakeland Agribusiness technical sales team are 100% focussed on delivering the RumiSmart Sustain programme to our farmer customers.”

Boyle Mills

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