Budget 2021: Minister confirms €5 million for ‘dairy calf-to-beef scheme’

Following on from the announcement of Budget 2021 yesterday (Tuesday, October 13), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that €5 million will go towards a new calf weighing measure to support beef farmers rearing dairy calves.

Speaking today (Wednesday, October 14), Minister Charlie McConalogue confirmed that this €5 million will take the form of a dairy calf-to-beef scheme.

The minister said at a press briefing this morning: “We’ve identified an additional €5 million for a dairy calf-to-beef scheme, to support the better integration of the dairy progeny into the beef sector.

We will have a big focus in the years ahead to ensure that the male progeny in particular that come off the dairy herd are fit for beef, and have beef credentials.

“This scheme, this €5 million, will be a welcome support in that regard, and also a welcome indicator that we want, as a policy direction, to very much ensure that the beef characteristics of [dairy calves] are something that can be profitable,” the minister added.

Outlining what kind of actions will be necessary under the scheme, Minister McConalogue explained: “It’s going to be for the weighing of dairy calves… We can build up further information on the weight gain, and improve the beef genetics of calves coming off the dairy herd.

€5 million is a significant contribution towards that. Certainly, it also speaks to the need over the years ahead to ensure priority is given to the beef credentials of calves coming off the dairy herd, [so it is] a profitable enterprise in terms of rearing them.

“It is something I will be engaging with the dairy sector on to ensure it is emphasised,” Minister McConalogue added.