ICSA beef chair - Edmund Graham - has urged beef farmers to cease the practice of rearing New Zealand--influenced dairy-bred calves.
He was responding to recent comments from Pearse Kelly of Teagasc who said a dairy farmer would need to pay a beef farmer €140 on top of a Jersey-cross calf to finish him as a 24-month steer at current beef prices.”
Graham said he would argue that this figure is on “the low side” and a beef farmer would need “a lot more than the €140 suggested.”
“ICSA believes that the real breakeven purchase price of a dairy bull calf should be about minus €165; this is a feedlots’ estimate for the animals that have Jersey or part Jersey genetics.”
The ICSA official is calling on Teagasc to make it very clear that farmers should not get involved in dairy bull beef production.
“It is way too high of a risk and even if markets improve to the extent that there is a steady demand, the economics of dairy bull beef simply doesn’t stack up.” He added.
"A futile practice"
“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,” he said.
The ICSA Beef Chair said farmers need to be very cautious too to avoid beef-cross Jersey- influenced calves.He is of the opinion that 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.”
“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.”