Tipperary Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm Launched

Tipperary Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm Launched

23rd May 2024

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The Tipperary Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm was officially launched this week. This joint initiative between Dawn Meats, Shinagh Estates and Teagasc was established to demonstrate best practice in breeding, rearing and finishing dairy-beef animals. Building a sustainable outlet for dairy-beef calves coming from the dairy industry is a priority for both the dairy and beef industries. This new farm will demonstrate profitable dairy calf-to-beef systems using the best available dairy-beef genetics coupled with best practice in animal husbandry with a particular focus on pasture and silage management.

The dairy calf-to-beef demonstration farm is based at Ballyvadin, Fethard, County Tipperary. This 112 hectare farm is leased for 15 years from April 2022 and is rearing over 300 dairy-beef calves to finish each year. The project demonstrates the benefits of closer integration between the dairy and beef farming sectors to produce profitable dairy beef.

Speaking at the launch in Tipperary this week, Professor Frank O’ Mara, Teagasc Director said: “There are more dairy-beef animals coming from the dairy herd now than before, and a demonstration farm like this one is important for Teagasc in the dissemination of information and to communicate best practice to other farmers. We are delighted to work with our partners, Dawn Meats and Shinagh Estates on this initiative. It was important for us to have both the dairy and beef sectors involved in this farm.”

Niall Browne, Chief Executive of Dawn Meats, said: “The key to this project is that it’s a true partnership between the beef and dairy industry. It will send a strong message to the supply chain. This farm can demonstrate the importance of using the best genetics to produce a beef calf, operating high animal health standards, getting the feeding right both at grass and indoors, and achieving the levels of finish required by the market place.”

Donal Santry, Chairman of Shinagh Estates, said; “It’s great to be part of this project. As a dairy farmer from West Cork, we can see the importance of this project in developing a proper sustainable outlet for our calves, and the learnings from the Tipperary Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm will be relevant nationwide.” 

The key demonstration actions for the Tipperary Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm are:

·       Demonstrate the significant advantage of strong collaboration between beef and dairy farmers in the breeding and transfer of healthy calves between both parties.

·       Operate a financially sustainable farm business using excellent pasture management, early age at slaughter and high animal health and welfare.

·       Minimise both nitrogen and phosphorus losses to the environment.

·       Implement mitigation strategies that reduce the impact of dairy calf-to beef farming on climate change.

·       Incorporate a proportion of the farm into high diversity landscape features.

·       Implement mitigation strategies to reduce GHG and ammonia emissions to the environment.

·       Reduce the use of antibiotics and anthelmintics.

For more information see https://www.teagasc.ie/animals/beef/dairy-calf-to-beef/dairybeef-500/tipperary-demonstration-farm-/

For monthly updates see https://www.teagasc.ie/animals/beef/dairy-calf-to-beef/dairybeef-500/tipperary-demonstration-farm-/farm-updates/

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An Open Day on the Tipperary Dairy Calf to Beef Demonstration Farm will take place on Wednesday, 10 July from 11 am with a particular focus on Dairy-Beef integration. A live Forum will take place at 2pm. All farmers  are welcome to attend.