What sires are the beef calves from the dairy herd sired by?

Ireland’s dairy-beef industry has found itself propelled into the fast lane. With expansion in the national dairy herd in recent years, there has been a proportional increase in the number of dairy calves coming available for beef production.

Dairy calves

The latest figures released by Teagasc at BEEF 2018 show an increasing number of dairy calves available in the production system.

Approximately 370,000 dairy calves born are destined as replacement heifers within the dairy herd, while the remainder are available for beef production.

The Irish dairy-beef industry is ever-growing and is an important cog in the beef production chain.

An increasing number of male dairy calves – that remain in Ireland – are managed under various dairy calf-to-beef systems; steer systems are the most popular. According to Teagasc, male dairy calves currently represent 41% of calves available for beef production.

Beef crossbred heifer calves are either managed in low-input production systems or retained for breeding in the suckler herd.

Male Holstein Friesian calves and early-maturing breeds, such as Angus and Herefords, represent 85% of the dairy-bred calves considered for beef production. However, Limousin proves to be the most dominant continental breed used on the dairy herd.

herd

Looking at 2017 data, the average age at slaughter of bullocks originating from the dairy herd was 29.5 months and there’s massive scope to finish these animals quicker and more efficiently.