News | January 18, 2024

Minister McConalogue Announces Consultation On Action Plan On Dairy Beef Systems

Consultation on ten-point plan to run until 9 February

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has announced the launch of a consultation on a new Action Plan focused on highlighting the potential of dairy calf to beef systems as an option for farmers. The announcement came at a high-level seminar event today organised with Teagasc, ICBF and Bord Bia and forms part of the implementation of the actions agreed by stakeholders in Food Vision 2030 to develop and support dairy beef systems.

Minister McConalogue said:
“This Action Plan is a collaborative effort between my Department, Teagasc, Bord Bia and ICBF and wider stakeholders. Making dairy calf to beef systems a profitable and sustainable option for farmers requires a huge national effort and I was struck today by the enthusiasm and supports outlined for farmers. It is important that the potential of these systems is fully understood in advance of the upcoming breeding season.”

The seminar was aimed at key stakeholders in the beef and dairy sectors and included two panel discussions, featuring farmers on actions at farm level, and agencies and industry representatives on what they can do to assist farmers in this area. The seminar also heard a presentation from Teagasc on farm profitability for dairy beef farmers which showed how using better beef genetics on the dairy herd can deliver higher quality calves for cattle farmers.

Minister McConalogue continued:
“This initiative is designed to sit alongside the existing supports to ensure that livestock farmers have as many options as possible and continue to develop in a sustainable manner. Its development should be a priority for the dairy and beef sectors. We are keen to hear the views of both and I would encourage all bodies to engage with the consultation on the Action Plan. I intend to publish it shortly afterwards with its implementation a priority for all involved.”

Professor Frank O Mara, Teagasc Director, said:
“The building blocks are in place now to improve the beef merit of the calf crop from the dairy herd given the progress that has been made in the use of sexed semen, and the advances in genetic tools such as the Dairy Beef Index and the Calf Beef Value (CBV), coupled with the new genotyping programme. This presents an opportunity for beef farmers which can be maximised by greater integration between dairy and beef farms. Breeding and good colostrum management, along with calf rearing and health, and good grassland management are key technologies underpinning profitable dairy beef systems.”