‘Onus on dairy­ing to pro­vide eco­nom­i­cally vi­able ge­net­ics’

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE - CATHER­INE HUR­LEY

DAIRY farm­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide ge­net­ics to beef farm­ers that will en­able them to ‘eco­nom­i­cally’ fin­ish an­i­mals, ac­cord­ing to John Ke­hoe, chair­per­son of the Beef Stake­hold­ers Group, speak­ing at the Na­tional Beef Con­fer­ence last week.

With the ex­pand­ing dairy herd, he said, dairy farm­ers need to in­tro­duce ge­net­ics into stock in­tended for beef pro­duc­tion that can pro­vide a sus­tain­able fu­ture for beef farm­ers.

“I’m a beef farmer and I be­lieve there is an onus on the dairy farmer — and a re­spon­si­bil­ity — to give us ge­net­ics that we can eco­nom­i­cally bring to beef,” Mr Ke­hoe said.

He said there are con­se­quences on the ex­pand­ing dairy herd that are fall­ing back onto beef farm­ers and the price they are get­ting for their an­i­mals.

“We must de­mand it, we must get bet­ter ge­net­ics from the dairy herd. That is where we will make our great­est money, is with the use of ge­net­ics.

Prob­lem

“The prob­lem will arise, with a fur­ther ex­pand­ing dairy herd that we can’t eco­nom­i­cally or don’t have the ge­net­ics to eco­nom­i­cally bring to beef,” he said, adding that beef farm­ers “are go­ing down a road we don’t want to go”.

This was in light of the new pro­posed Dairy-Beef In­dex pre­sented by Dr Don­agh Berry, of Tea­gasc in Tul­lam­ore at the con­fer­ence, to rank beef bulls on prof­itabil­ity when mated to a dairy cow, based on re­search and yet to be ap­proved.

The pro­posed dairy­beef in­dex ranks beef bulls for use on dairy cows based on their es­ti­mated ge­netic po­ten­tial to pro­duce prof­itable, high-qual­ity cat­tle, born with min­i­mal reper­cus­sions on sub­se­quent per­for­mance of the dairy dam.

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