The Dexter Cattle Society Republic of Ireland (ROI) Group has a supply contract in place with ABP Factory in Nenagh for the past number of years, where producers receive a premium price of €5.50/kg dead weight.
Pedigree registered Dexter steers – which are grass-fed and slaughtered between 24 to 30-months – are sold to the processor in question and are supplied to Aldi supermarkets through Pallas Foods, according to the ROI Dexter Cattle Group.
A total of 86 Dexter steers were supplied to the factory in 2017, while 34 were slaughtered the previous year. From humble beginnings, the group supplies up to 200 cattle steers per year and the society hopes to grow this outlet further, Sean Flannery – Chairperson of ROI Dexter Cattle Group told That's Farming.
The premium price will only be forked out for steers under 30-months, birth notified with Dexter Cattle Society, grass-fed and from a Bord Bia Quality-Assured herd.
Dexter Beef is regarded a premium meat sought after by high-end restaurants; hotel menus and discerning meat eaters, according to the society.
Releasing a statement, a spokesperson for the group said: “This has been a great success for the groups and has brought confidence to our breeder members with demand for both beef and breeding animals.”
Sean also highlighted that Dexter cattle are ideal for conversation grazing, as demonstrated by a recent study. Killian Kelly – IT Tralee conducted experimental grazing trails with Dexter cattle a number of years ago, using Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking and direct observation to identify preferred grazing habits.
“There seems to be great interest in conversation grazing. It is early days and it not implemented as of yet, but National Parks have expressed an interest.” Sean explained.
Dexter cattle – a small dual-purpose breed which are an Irish native breed - had all but disappeared from the country and had to be re-introduced from UK in the last 20 years.
Breeder membership has grown from 100 breeders in 2014 to 170 members in 2018, while herd registrations have also witnessed a major increase, according to Sean Flannery – Chairperson of Irish Dexter Group.
“Herd registrations have doubled in the past three years, growing from 300 to 600.”
“In the year 2000, there up to two animals were registered with the society in the U.K and since, there are up to 700 registrations or more.”
Sean became involved with the ROI group after it was reformed in early 2015 following a survey of some 100 members in the Republic of Ireland; the ROI group - which participates in the Knowledge Transfer Scheme - is a member of the Dexter Cattle Society of UK where cattle are registered.
The DCS ROI Group will host itS AGM on February, 19th, 2019 in the Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath; the ROI Dexter Cattle Group represents over 100 members who are breeders of pedigree registered cattle in the Republic of Ireland.
The Dexter Cattle Society UK from where the Herdbook is maintained have asked the ROI Group to host the AGM in Ireland on October, 12th 2019.
“This is in recognition of the rate of growth of the Irish Dexter herd membership,” Sean concluded.
The ROI Group have a committee of 8 to 10 members who hold an AGM and 4 Provincial Meetings each year which includes a visit to a member’s herd.
Image source: Irish Dexter Cattle Group \ Facebook.