Improving quality of calves coming off the dairy herd won’t happen overnight, Head of Glanbia Beef Martin Ryan has said.
Speaking at an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture meeting where both Glanbia and Kepak presented their Twenty20 Beef club scheme, Mr Ryan said the scheme’s aim of improving quality of dairy calves to increase their value will be a challenge.
“No doubt it will be a big challenge. What we are trying to do is change a percentage of animals and that will demonstrate to others how you will increase value. We’re not trying to change everything overnight. People will breed replacements continually on EBI. We may need to put more focus on EBI value with beef.
“When you look at the amount of dairy stock produced today there’s certainly scope from where we are today to increase the number of cattle sired by beef.”
Mr Ryan also that sexed semen will play a role in the future but that technology improvements are needed.
Kepak Agri-business development manager Mick O’ Dowd added that the aim of the scheme is to raise the standard among a small number of animals as farmers are looking to big companies for solutions.
“We know better than anyone the amount of O grade and P grade cattle coming from the dairy herd that’s why we are doing this we’re trying to rise that standard. We’re not saying that we’re going to bring every P into an R. Through improved genetics and technical support we fully believe we will rise to standard and that’s for a small cohort of animals in this programme.
“Farmers are looking to big companies for solutions. It’s not the complete silver bullet for the industry but it’s a start and get more predictability to the farmer.”