A new dairy-beef programme has been launched by Teagasc which will target of net margin of €500/ha, excluding direct payments.

DairyBeef500 is led by Teagasc and will promote the adoption of best practice at farm level to increase the future viability and sustainability of the beef sector. It is also part of the SignPost programme.

Dairy calf-to-beef demonstration farms have been selected throughout the country to illustrate key technologies including calf rearing, grassland management, calf health, nutrition, financial management, animal health and welfare, environmental sustainability and the appropriate use of dairy-beef genetics.

The focus of the programme will be on a number of key objectives:

  • Target a net margin of €500/ha excluding direct payments.
  • Increase the adoption of best practices, especially in relation to grassland management, calf rearing and herd health.
  • Reduce the environmental footprint of dairy beef production.
  • Establish a cohort of profitable dairy beef producers.
  • Create greater integration between beef and dairy industries.
  • Improve the beef merit of calves coming from the dairy herd.
  • Demonstration farm

    A dairy calf-to-beef demonstration farm based at Ballyvadin, Fethard, Co Tipperary, has been set up as a joint venture between Teagasc, Dawn Meats and Shinagh Estates Ltd (Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh, Lisavaird and Carbery).

    The Ballyvadin farm will demonstrate the deployment of best technologies in sustainable dairy calf-to-beef production.

    Additionally, it will produce beef of high quality from both the processor and consumers' perspective, Teagasc said.

    Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConlogue and Teagasc director Professor Frank O’Mara launched the programme on the farm of Peter O’ Hanrahan near Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.

    He farms in partnership with his father Thomas and runs Friesian and early maturing steers in a calf-to-beef system.