A new campaign focused on dairy beef production called DairyBeef500 has been launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD.
The launch took place on the farm of Peter O’ Hanrahan near Thomastown in County Kilkenny. Minister McConalogue was welcomed to the farm by Peter and Jenny O’ Hanrahan and Peter’s parents Thomas and Olive. Peter farms in partnership with his father Thomas and runs Friesian and early maturing steers in a calf to beef system.
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 & welfare, environmental sustainability and the appropriate use of dairy beef genetics.
The DairyBeef500 Campaign is led by Teagasc and will promote the adoption of best practice at farm level to increase the future viability and sustainability of the Irish beef sector. The DairyBeef500 Campaign is part of the Teagasc Signpost programme.
Speaking at the launch Minister McConalogue said, “I am delighted to launch the DairyBeef500 campaign, which is in line with the actions planned under Food Vision 2030. Our beef sector is truly world class with our farmers the bedrock of the sector. It will promote greater integration of the dairy and beef sectors, to ensure that there is a market outlet for calves from the dairy herd, and to provide an attractive business option for beef farmers. We want to explore all avenues to help generate the strongest possible income for farmers.”
Director of Teagasc, Professor Frank O’Mara acknowledged the support from the partner companies in the DairyBeef500 programme and thanked the 15 farmers, including Peter O’ Hanrahan, who will be demonstration farms as part of the programme. He said, “the DairyBeef500 partners will also be an integral part of the Signpost Programme in order to contribute to the national initiative of reducing agricultural emissions.”
The DairyBeef500 Campaign will promote and demonstrate dairy-beef systems, which are socially, environmentally and financially sustainable. The focus will be on a number of key objectives:
- Target a net margin of €500 per hectare excluding direct payments.
- Increase the adoption of best practices, especially in relation to grassland management and 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.