I am delighted to invite you to attend our major national open day BEEF2024 at Teagasc Grange on Wednesday 26 June, commencing at 9am.

The theme of our beef open day is “securing your future”.

This reflects the focus of our event on the most pertinent issues for the beef sector at present, such as farm succession, profitability, market disturbances, reducing environmental footprint and increasing costs of production.

It is important at all times to remind ourselves of the importance of the beef sector to the Irish economy and rural life.

More than 100,000 farms have a cattle enterprise and the export value of beef is €2.7bn.

Moreover, beef farming is a core element of rural societies with an associated tradition and culture evident on family farms throughout the country.

Efficient pasture-based cattle production systems underpin beef farming in Ireland, and so, at BEEF2024 technologies in relation to grassland management, animal nutrition, beef genetics, reproductive management, animal health and welfare, and farm planning will be key topics.

This event is your opportunity to see firsthand the results of Teagasc’s comprehensive research and innovation programme in these areas, and to meet Teagasc research, advisory and education staff.

The event is organised so that the predominant form of engagement will be by means of demonstrations, live displays and interactive exhibits within our “technology villages”.

In relation to the increasing focus on the environmental impact of food production, there is clear evidence that as regards our grass-based beef farming systems, we are working from a position of strength; however, there are still opportunities for improvement.

Fortunately, most of the management practices and technologies that have been identified to reduce the environmental impact of beef systems, also improve profitability.

Frank O'Mara. \ Philip Doyle

For example, reducing finishing age can lead to sharp reductions in lifetime methane emissions, our most significant greenhouse gas, while concurrently improving profitability by reducing feed costs.

Securing the future of the beef sector is very tightly intertwined with developing clear pathways to farm succession. It is likely that many potential successors will operate beef farms of the future in parallel with off-farm employment.

Labour efficiency

For that reason, labour efficiency within the sector is crucial. These issues will be explored at BEEF2024 both in our technology villages and on our panel forums.

BEEF2024 will comprise two main “speaking” stands followed by a series of “villages” where the key technologies to improve beef farming sustainability will be shown throughout the day.

These villages comprise live demonstrations, which will be both informative and interactive.

Beef 2022 at Teagasc Grange, Co Meath. \ Claire Nash

You will also have the opportunity to meet with beef farmers from around the country who are Teagasc Signpost demonstration farmers in our Future Beef and DairyBeef 500 programmes. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit our new pilot scale anaerobic digester and to hear what research is being planned on this topic.

Beef 2022 at Teagasc Grange, Co Meath. \ Claire Nash

BEEF2024 will include three forums: firstly, at 12.30pm we will focus on dairy-beef, at 1.30pm the focus will shift to the suckler sector and, finally, our “BEEF2024 – securing your future” forum will commence at 2.30pm.

The first two forums will concentrate on how our demonstration farmers are using the latest technologies to improve their incomes and to futureproof their farms.

On our final forum, which will include an address by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, and input from key industry stakeholders will discuss the main opportunities and challenges facing the sector and beef farm families.

There are many important and interesting topics for beef farmers that will be discussed at the open day. \ Claire Nash

I would like to thank our sponsors FBD Insurance for their generous support for this open day. I would also like to thank industry partners who will join us at BEEF2024, highlighting the collaborative nature of the beef sector.

So, all in all, there are many important and interesting topics for beef farmers that will be discussed at the open day, and I hope that you will take the opportunity to join us on 26 June at Teagasc Grange.