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Last week we held our monthly Suckler Discussion Group meeting on the farm of Brendan McFeely, Daisy Hill, Navenny, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. At the meeting Brendan McFeely's father, Brendan Senior, who practiced as a Veterinary Surgeon in the county for many years, gave a great presentation on the anatomy of cattle and where the different cuts of meat come from.  He highlighted where the more expensive cuts are located and why, when injecting an animal into the muscle, it should be carried out in the neck area to avoid damaging the high value meat at the rear of the animal. He covered in great depth the proper procedure to be carried out when injecting an animal. We also talked about the different vaccinations that are being used at the minute and about the different risks associated with giving a number of them at the same time. Some of the members of the group are vaccinating for a range diseases whilst others are vaccinating for very few or none at all. We talked about the risks of BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) and the voluntary campaign that is coming down the line next year in relation to vaccinating against it. Brendan showed us his pure bred Charlaois cattle and gave us great information on the A.I. bulls he is using at the minute and the reasons for using them. He showed us the cattle that he will be showing at the forthcoming Charolais Society sales. After we had our discussion on all the topics and had a look around the farm, Brendan then organised a stock judging competition for the group members. He had three stock bulls in a pen and everyone had to rank them in order of the best first and so on. The bulls were previously judged by Basil Bothwell of ICBF. The winner of the competition was Joseph Duddy, Mount Pleasure, Churchill, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Joseph went away with a voucher from Smyth’s Daleside feeds for five bags of Mmunchy. Browse the photos from this meeting by clicking on the link below. http://www.flickr.com/photos/agriculturalconsultant/6184405433/ There are many benefits from joining a discussion group. One of them is the social aspect where farmers meet up once a month and discuss what is working for them and what can be done differently or better the next time. It allows farmers to get away from the farm and interact with each other in a relaxed setting. It allows members to find out new and easier ways to do things where someone else has had the experience already. It also gives members the opportunity to gain technical information on a wide range of topics.  Group members are a well of knowledge for the farmer to tap in to and group members provide a fresh pair of eyes to scan over the operation, the farmer can come away with new ideas to try and improve the profitability of their farm. We have three Dairy Discussion groups, a Sheep group and Suckler group, if you are interested in joining any of these groups or would like to find out more contact our office as new members are always welcome. Check out our new on line farm shop for all your Cross Compliance, Seed and Chemical needs! www.agriculturalconsultant.net   Mark Mc Connell Consultancy Ltd, the Glebe, Stranorlar, Lifford, Co. Donegal   T/F 074 91 30772

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