The challenges in profitable beef from a dairy herd
“With the expected rise in the national dairy herd over the coming years and with the advent of sexed semen, we anticipate a significant rise in the numbers of beef cattle being bred in the country,” explained Teagasc head of drystock Pearse Kelly.
“These will be mostly a mixture of dairy bred males and traditional beef breeds (Angus and Hereford) finished as steers, bulls and heifers,” he added.
According to the Teagasc expert, farmers are interested in the different systems that can be put in place to finish these stock whether as bulls or steers and at different ages.
“The different systems allow for different numbers to be finished per hectare and with varying levels of inputs. Output per hectare is the main driver of profitability with all of the systems and this is influenced by stocking rate and the performance per head with the different systems.”
Cashflow is also important, he added, noting in particular some of the systems having more than one sale date in the year to improve cashflow.
In terms of production output targets, the main advice is to aim for a high output of beef per hectare and to control the costs of this beef production by including a high proportion of grass in the animals lifetime diet.
“The markets for this beef will also be covered extensively on the day with all of the leading beef processors and their buyers involved in the discussion to give clear guidelines on what the market is and is going to require into the future,” Kelly added.
More than 300 plus people are expected to attend the Teagasc National Beef Conference, a mixture of farmers, industry representatives, advisers and researchers.
The aim of the conference is to showcase the most recent research on the dairy calf-to-beef systems, to give the potential returns of the varying systems and to give the farmer experiences from farms that are already operating these systems.
Among the speakers are Alan Kelly of University College Dublin on beef production from pure dairy male calves; rearing healthy beef calves by Jessica Cooke, Volac; and discussion groups panel speakers from ABP, Tesco, Certified Anhus, Hereford Prime, Bord Bia, Dawn Meats; and presentations from the Irish Farmers Journal.
The conference programme is available here.