As Irish beef farmers in their droves turn their backs on animals from the dairy herd due to heavy financial losses over the winter of 2013/2014, UK farmers say the role of dairy herd-produced beef is becoming ever-more important to its beef sector.

National Beef Association chief executive, Chris Mallon, said: “In addition to making financial sense for individual farmers, producing beef from the dairy herd is becoming increasingly important to the entire British Beef industry. More than half of Britain’s beef now comes from the dairy sector, which is helping to shore up the ongoing decline in the suckler herd.”

According to EBLEX, statistics shows the English suckler herd has continued to decline, falling a further 3% on the year to 699,000 head.

Mallon noted: “Dairy herd-produced beef is widely forecast to play an ever-stronger role in maintaining the critical mass necessary for the British Beef industry to exist.

“Without sufficient animals in the system, abattoirs will be forced to close, meaning animals will have to travel for longer, and jobs will be lost. It really is a big issue for the industry at the moment.”

The National Beef Association Beef Expo’s this year will focus on the role of dairy herd-produced beef is becoming ever-more important to this. The aim of the Beef from the Dairy Herd showcase is to demonstrate the scope and a role that dairy bred livestock plays.

The NBA chief executive highlighted: “Today’s technology makes it possible to be selective to achieve the best possible results from your breeding, and therefore the best financial results for your enterprise.

“You can select the cows you want to produce dairy cows from and use sexed semen on them. By using beef bull semen on the others to produce a high quality beef animal, you will end up with an animal worth maybe £150 more than a dairy bull calf.”