Focus of Beef Farmers Remains on Sustainability
Fairer prices, alternative feedstuffs, animal health checks prior to purchase, training for handlers to reduce stress and improve meat quality plus biodiversity are under the spotlight for 2022
Beef farmers across Europe continue to engage with the BovINE network via national and international meetings, and exchanges with the project’s national Network Managers (NMs) to express and share their needs for information, tools, and practical guidance to help secure sustainable improvements in their practice and business operations.
The result of that engagement is the selection of eight new Priority Topics for BovINE to concentrate on during 2022, two topics for each of the project’s four thematic areas:
- Socio-economic Resilience
- Animal Health & Welfare
- Production Efficiency & Meat Quality
- Environmental Sustainability
BovINE’s four Technical Working Groups (TWGs) one for each thematic area, led by researchers from agricultural research institutions supported by experts and NMs from Farmer Associations, will identify existing literature, policy recommendations and on-farm good practices to produce solutions for these grass roots needs expressed by farmers.
“Here in Ireland, we had a very good National Network meeting hosted by the Irish Farmers Association and Teagasc,” says Kevin Kinsella, the Bovine Irish Network Manager. “Our beef farmers welcomed the opportunity to share their views and highlight their needs for information, guidance and good practices to support their journey towards sustainability.”
BovINE’s 2022 Priority Topics range from securing a fairer distribution of the price paid along the beef supply chain, to the use of alternative feedstuffs in order to reduce the high costs of raw materials; from ‘on farm’ health checks of young stock prior to purchase or sale, to training in animal welfare for operators and farmers to reduce stress; from identifying and validating tools for calculating and improving environmental sustainability and biodiversity on beef cattle farms, to tools and strategies to improve meat quality.
“The TWGs will work to identify existing evidence and guidance on the new priority topics,” says Richard Lynch of Teagasc, the Bovine Project Manager, “and where possible arrange practical demonstrations on local beef farms to create ‘farm ready’ good practices.”
The BovINE network in Ireland will be hearing further from farmers and sharing good practices and new information with them at their National Network meeting to be held in person/hybrid/on line in autumn 2022. To receive up to date information on the national meeting, contact Kevin Kinsella via [email protected]
“All beef farmers, their advisors, business and veterinary services are able to access the wide range and growing number of good practices and information already collated by the BovINE network via the BovINE Knowledge Hub (BKH) accessed here https://hub.bovine-eu.net,” adds Kevin Kinsella.
BovINE continues the work of exchanging knowledge and experience with the European beef farming community and value chain with its whole project Transnational Meeting to be held late 2022. To stay up to date with project news, access the BovINE website (www.bovine-eu.net) where you can also sign up for the project’s newsletter.