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Beef – Ireland, John Power

This case study demonstrates how a small family business has used effective farm management and participation in breeding and business programmes to create a profitable beef enterprise, whilst also fostering good environmental and welfare practices on the farm.

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Key areas of good practice
Certification / assurance:

The farm is a member of the Bord Bia Beef Quality Assurance Scheme which is an integrated scheme for beef producers and processors to provide the customer with quality assured beef. The scheme details elements such as legal compliance, animal welfare, and environmental stewardship, which are independently audited and certified.

The farm is a member of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation's HerdPlus information service which provides a range of farm management data to aid and improve the productivity and economics of the beef enterprise.

Animal health:

The Powers have fitted rubber slat covers to the fully slatted concrete flooring in the winter housing. These increase the comfort and welfare of the animal whilst housed indoors.

Straw bedded calving pens and calf creep areas are provided during the winter housing period. This improves comfort for calving cows, helps reduce disease challenges at calving and benefits calf health and welfare.

A paddock grazing system is operated, which allows the farm to more accurately match the nutritional demands of the livestock with the quality and availability of the grass. Although infrastructure costs are higher than for set stocked systems, the benefits from improved stock performance and pasture management have made this an excellent option for the beef enterprise.

Business ethics & supplier relationships:

By working with Teagasc and Dawn Meats, John has demonstrated a willingness to learn, change and adopt new practice. Trials in new and alternative practices which are undertaken on the farm are then communicated via open days and workshops.

Environment:

The farm's diesel tank has been sited in the disused dairy, which can contain any leaks or spills of fuel.

Ecosystem protection:

The farm is a member of the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS), which encourages simple and effective environmental management on the farm whilst providing economic support to allow the farm to undertake the necessary improvements, such as tree planting, fencing of waterways and establishing habitat areas for wildlife.