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Beef Webinar Series 2021: Building resilience in beef farming sector

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), Northern Ireland Meat Export Association (NIMEA), National Beef Association (NBA) and Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) have joined forces to deliver a series of beef webinars with a focus on sustainable beef farming for the future.

The cross cutting themes that the webinars will address include production efficiency, environmental sustainability, resilience and supply chain. The four webinars are specifically tailored for farmers and will focus on solutions that can be employed to further increase the sustainability of the beef industry in Northern Ireland. Speakers will include farmers, industry representatives, researchers and advisers, and the webinars will provide important messages for all involved in the local beef industry. 

Grass – your greatest asset

Event 1 topics include:

  • Outline how nutrients can be best utilised within the farm gate to produce beef in a cost effective and environmentally friendly manner. 
  • Present results from a recent project that aimed to maximise beef production from grass and indicate measures that can be taken to reduce the concentrate requirement on beef farms.
  • Outline the importance of adopting scientific findings at a farm level to ensure productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability can be achieved at the farm gate.
  • James Henderson, a beef and sheep farmer from Kilkeel and a CAFRE Beef Grassland Management Technology Demonstration Farmer, will discuss how he has adopted a range of technologies and will indicate how he manages his grassland to achieve high grass utilisation and livestock performance.

Building Resilience in beef farming sector

Event 2 topics include:

  • How beef farms can become resilient from a financial perspective.
  • Two local farmers, John Egerton (CAFRE Beef Fertility Technology Demonstration Farmer) and Ryan McDowell (BETTER Farm Beef Challenge NI participant), will also outline how they have future proofed their businesses by introducing an alternative enterprise to their farm or gaining off-farm employment.
  • Both farmers will share their decision making process and challenges they encountered whilst adopting their decision.
Carbon: an opportunity and a challenge

Event 3 topics include:

  • A review of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and the key areas which beef farmers should focus on to both reduce emissions and capture carbon.
  • Discussion of the technologies and measures in place on the farm, which not only deliver results from a production efficiency perspective but that also deliver environmental gains. 
  • Benefits of completing a carbon benchmark
  • Discussion of some of the technologies and changes that have been proven over the years to improve profitability on beef farms and highlight how their continued and further implementation can deliver environmental and further profitability benefits.
Sustainable beef supply chain initiatives in practice

Event 4 topics include:

  • Consumer and customer demand for sustainable beef.
  • The Dawn/Dunbia Group’s response to the climate change challenge.
  • Northern Ireland’s beef supply chain response to the climate change challenge-measure to manage.
  • A farmer’s insight to completing a carbon balance calculation.
  • Beef processing sector’s strategic overview of the challenges and opportunities for NI’s sustainable beef supply chain.