Recent figures published by Teagasc highlighted that Irish dairy farmers would need to pay beef farmers €140 PLUS a free Jersey-cross calf to enable farmers to finish them at 24-months at current market prices.
This led to the ICSA urging beef farmers to stop rearing dairy bred calves.
“Taking on calves from Jersey and Kiwi cross herds make no financial sense whatsoever. It is a futile practice that will never turn a profit for a beef farmer,” said ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham.
Mr Graham said the figures published by Teagasc do not add up and suggested that they may even be on the low side.
“The figures just don’t add up. Indeed, I would argue the Teagasc figure is on the low side and a beef man would need a lot more than the €140 suggested.” He said.
“It’s time to face economic reality with this one and stop taking on these calves once and for all. Farmers need to be very cautious too to avoid beef cross Jersey influenced calves.” The ICSA Beef chair added.
Mr Graham warned that the dairy industry in Ireland is pushing towards a similar model to that in New Zealand, where there is no beef industry. He said beef farmers in Ireland can no longer be expected to take on unwanted calves.
“Dairy in this country has been moving more and more towards a New Zealand model, but the difference between Ireland and New Zealand is that New Zealand doesn’t have a beef industry.” He said.
“Yet here in Ireland beef farmers are almost expected to take on the influx of unwanted dairy calves. Unfortunately, it is a road we can no longer afford to go down and the responsibility ultimately lies with the sector that bred them.”
Mr Graham added that farmers also needed to wake up to the dangers of trying to make profit from rearing Holstein bull beef.
“I am inundated with calls from farmers who are being turned away from factories with O grade bull beef. In the last week, I estimate I have had calls from farmers who have some 2,000 head of Holstein bull beef who cannot find a factory to take them.” Edmund said.
“Teagasc figures do not account for the risk of being caught with bulls going over age and nobody to buy them.” He concluded.