Track 1-08

Description

Ireland’s cool temperate maritime climate is conducive to grass growth and, as a result, ruminant livestock systems have evolved that maximise both grazed pastures and conserved grassland forage as winter feed. Most Irish pastures are permanent, capable of achieving high herbage production (Keating and O’Kiely 2000) and, accordingly, supporting intensive livestock production systems. Most male progeny from the 1.1 million Irish dairy herd are reared as steers, typically slaughtered at 24-26 months of age. Approximately 85% of dairy calves available for beef production are spring-born, usually in February/March (AIMS 2011). The progeny of Holstein-Friesian (Ho/Fr) sires account for 0.5-0.6 of the calf crop, with 0.6 and 0.4 of the remainder being sired by early-maturing (EM; e.g. Aberdeen Angus, Hereford) or late-maturing (LM; e.g. Limousin, Belgian Blue, Charolais) sires, respectively. This paper summarises some of the main grassland-based steer beef production systems applicable to Ireland.

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Efficient Beef Production from Temperate Grasslands in North-Western Europe

Ireland’s cool temperate maritime climate is conducive to grass growth and, as a result, ruminant livestock systems have evolved that maximise both grazed pastures and conserved grassland forage as winter feed. Most Irish pastures are permanent, capable of achieving high herbage production (Keating and O’Kiely 2000) and, accordingly, supporting intensive livestock production systems. Most male progeny from the 1.1 million Irish dairy herd are reared as steers, typically slaughtered at 24-26 months of age. Approximately 85% of dairy calves available for beef production are spring-born, usually in February/March (AIMS 2011). The progeny of Holstein-Friesian (Ho/Fr) sires account for 0.5-0.6 of the calf crop, with 0.6 and 0.4 of the remainder being sired by early-maturing (EM; e.g. Aberdeen Angus, Hereford) or late-maturing (LM; e.g. Limousin, Belgian Blue, Charolais) sires, respectively. This paper summarises some of the main grassland-based steer beef production systems applicable to Ireland.