Earlier this year, Gerard and Martin Meegan took the Smart Farming challenge. The cost savings team completed a farm visit. They studied the Meegans' feed, electricity, fuel and fertiliser bills, soil samples and water quality results. They focused on where cost and environmental savings could be identified across the following areas: soil fertility, energy use, grassland management, water use, feed, inputs, waste, time and machinery management.

Let’s look at where the €8,100 savings were identified ...

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SOIL FERTILITY

  • Update soil samples – back-end 2019.
  • Work with adviser to create a nutrient management plan, based on soil sample results – spring 2020.
  • Target fertiliser use to avoid waste of expensive fertiliser, fertilise based on soil analysis
  • GRASSLAND

  • Consider putting a reseeding plan in place, starting with silage ground first.
  • Consider allocating one hour per week to practise measuring and recording grass growth.
  • FEED

  • Improve silage quality to reduce the quantity of additional concentrates required over the 100-day finishing period.
  • ENERGY

  • Switch energy suppliers, for best deals.
  • Fix lights not working and upgrade all yard and shed lights to more efficient LEDs.
  • INPUTS & WASTE

  • Wilting silage reduces effluent.
  • Prevent lameness in the flock.
  • Target scanning rate of 1.7+, by targeting BCS of 3.5 at mating.
  • Reducing the climate impact by 5%

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    During the Smart Farming cost saving study, a carbon reduction strategy for Meegans'

    farm was developed using the Carbon Navigator decision support tool developed by Teagasc

    and Bord Bia. Potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4.8% was identified. Many of the measures, such as nitrogen efficiency and slurry spreading timing, will also lead to other positive

    environmental outcomes and reduce risks to water quality. Let’s take a closer look at some

    of the Carbon Navigator results.

    The farmer speaks: Gerard and Martin’s view

    Smart Farming was useful as it made us more aware of the key resources available on the farm and how more efficient we could be. The future of beef is challenging but it’s good to identify key issues which can be targeted or addressed on our farm. This should help us to reduce our cost of production while becoming more sustainable.

    See you at the Tullamore Show

    Smart Farming is heading to the Tullamore Show on Sunday 11 August. We will

    be at the IFA stand. Why not drop by? Maybe even register your interest in taking the

    Smart Farming cost saving challenge in 2020. See you there!

    Smart Farming is supported by the participating organisations and brought to you by IFA in conjunction with the EPA

    www.smartfarming.ie

    Email: smartfarming@ifa.ie