Dawn Meats / Teagasc – Dairy Beef Project (DBP)

Our national dairy herd has grown by a staggering 50% over the last 5 years and in no small way demonstrates Irish farmers love of farming and their willingness and enthusiasm to exploit viable opportunities that arise when they are suited to their particular holding and or circumstance.

As always when the upward curve is dramatic – some obvious consequences come into play, many of which are positive but some are of concern. One of these concerns is the type and quality of calf produced which if exported for veal or taken into beef finishing is very important.

We understand the obvious conflict for the dairy farmer, between the necessity to have short gestation / easy calving bulls and at the same time see increasing numbers of dairy bred cattle failing to make premium market entry standard when presented for slaughter.  – Dawn Meats in conjunction with Teagasc are working to see if this dairy challenge can be resolved with the production of a more marketable beef calf.

With this objective in mind and together with Teagasc we have launched our Dairy Beef Project. We have selected 900/1000 2020 born calves from beef sires with superior beef trait genetics and, crucially easy calving and short gestation merits from the Dairy Beef Index deemed suitable for use on dairy cows.

These calves will be reared on 8 or 9 commercial beef farms with similar production systems and we will keep you up to date with progress as the project evolves and is completed over the next 24 months. We hope that this work will enable us identify sires with the desired generic merits to square the dairy v beef production objectives for all involved. 

PS: In order to produce comprehensive analysis we purchased 450 calves from dairy farms bred from 9 different sire breeds knowing that this will give us a significant spread in terms of carcase variation and beef market suitability. 

We plan to bring you these results once all of the 2019 test crop has been processed by end of Spring 2021.