Shane and James Murphy at Clonghill Farm, Wilkinstown, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland have a suckler to beef and a beef fattening enterprise. They farm 100 suckler cows taking the progeny to beef and they also buy in about 200 weanling bulls in the autumn for fattening, finishing at under 16 months of age and targeting the Italian market. Like many other beef finishing farms, they set about addressing the challenges on animal performance, profitability, digestive upsets and lameness, which typically occur on high intake and high energy diets.
To overcome some of these issues they decided to invest in a Keenan Feeder, adopting the associated precision feeding technology with the PACE system (Performance Acceleration and Control Enhancement) to their finishing animals. They also invested in Easy-fix rubber mats to cover their slatted floors so as to improve animal comfort and reduce stress.
This innovation has an impact across the four thematic areas in BovINE. Using the Keenan system to feed a precise and consistent feed mix, average daily gain increased by 400g per day on the finishing bulls, carcase weight at slaughter age increased and more animals are finished to a precise quality specification, improving Production Efficiency and Meat Quality. Animal Health and Welfare issues like digestive upsets also improved and lameness and injuries were brought under control with the benefit of the rubber mats on the slats. The initial costs of the new feeding system involved a major financial commitment but it has provided a significant improvement in Socio-economic Resilience due to improved income as a result of increased productivity, higher quality and prices, and reduced work load. Finally, the increased productivity and efficiency lead to a reduced carbon footprint, resulting in progress on Environmental Sustainability. For all these reasons, the Murphey’s recommend this system to beef finishers sharing the same they faced.
- Innovation submitted by the NM from Ireland: Kevin Kinsella
- Personal communication with the farmer: James Murphy
- Keenan Feeders website: https://www.alltech.com/keenan
Link to a video:
- A video from the farm, but showing Easy-fix rubber mats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS89pGS5Bkk
In Poland, a presentation about the Keenan systems PACE technology was performed face to face on a fattening bulls farm in Mogowo, close to Nasielsk city. Professor Marcin Gołębiewski from Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) presented the innovation to a group of 19 farmers and addressed pertinent issues such as:
- Feeding plan in the fattening phase;
- The difference between the residual feed intake (RFI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR);
- How to convert feeding plan into economic efficiency for better income;
- How precision feeding can influence on environmental and reduce pressure on it.
According to M. Gołębiewski, although the innovation is expensive to implement in Polish beef farms, he still recommends this technology because there are several benefits, such as: - Less need to buy or use self-produced forage because of the precise feeding according to the feeding plan;
- Reduced environmental impact by less manure production;
- Reduced feeding costs.
The Powerpoint presentation in Polish is available here.
Further information: Marcin Gołębiewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)