MEMBERS of Fermanagh Grassland Club were taken on a whirlwind tour of beef farming around the world at their latest meeting when Ciaran Lenehen, who farms in County Meath and is a technical specialist with animal health company Chanelle, based in Galway, looked at the opportunities and challenges in the global beef market.
He reported on visits to USA, Turkey and China as well as parts of Europe.
This meeting, organised by the club, was open to all farmers and was sponsored by the Vaughan Trust.
Ciaran began his world tour presentation in Canada where they specialise in the production of crossbred bulls and want to be the best at it. Because of their hybrid vigour he said they estimated they got an extra 7-20 per cent growth.
He visited a number of feedlots including Cattleland Feedlot near Calgary with 25,000 head of cattle employing 62 full-time staff and grew all their forage on 22,000 acres.
Most of these cattle were for contract feeding on a “Bed and Breakfast” rate per day with only about 20 per cent owned by the company.
He said around 68 per cent of feedlot cattle in Canada were produced in Alberta and of them around 30 per cent were produced without hormones. Those on hormones finished 100 days earlier.
There were a total of three million cattle finished for beef in Canada with carcase weights of around 417kgs.
He visited other ranches and feedlots where stocking rates could be 20 acres for a cow and calf.
In China, some feedlots have been established where they spend around 3,000 dollars to ship the cattle from New Zealand.
He also visited cattle production farms in Nebraska where the temperature can range from +26 to -15 degrees Celsius.
Ciaran also spoke about his trip to farms in Russia where one hectare of tillage ground costs 400 euros and 25 euros for marginal land. In some parts of Russia, temperature ranges from -35 degrees in winter to +40 degrees in summer.
During his presentation Ciaran played a number of short videos from some of his places visited which brought a different perspective to the evening.