National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Dairy farmers urged to place more 21 day old beef sired calves on rearing market

19th October 2015

Region: National

The National Beef Association (NBA) believe dairy farmers should consider the value a beef calf could add to their bottom line. 

Here Chris Mallon national director for the National Beef Assocation gives some further background.

In an era of sexed semen, reduced margins from milk, and an expanding dairy herd the value of a good beef cross calf should not be underestimated. The beef industry needs volumes of high quality, uniform carcasses that the dairy industry potentially can supply. 

Prime black and white steers and bulls are heavily penalised with many processors and so these types of calves are becoming less valuable and hard to shift whilst those calves from a beef sire can easily find a home. 

Dairy farmers should be in no doubt that beef rearers will soon be needing  even more beef sired calves and if they approach this opportunity professionally then regular additional income can be secured. 

Accordingly the ideal approach would be to present well bred, well fed, well presented, 21 day old beef sired calves to an organised, well structured, buyer. At current market values suitable beef cross bull calves are making £370 a head and heifers £330 a head a definite boost to the dairy farmers income.

As the retail market for top-shelf beef expands the beef breed calves that supply it are more valuable than those of pure dairy origin. 

But the bulls must be good ones. Ones that can breed quality carcasses,  producing carcase weights within specification. As with the suckler cow there is no point in using poor quality bulls to try and produce profitable beef cattle. Ideally calves need to be produced against a buyer template. This includes having a health plan, so they can be immediately integrated into established rearing and finishing systems. Obviously full colostrum intake would be essential and care would also have to be taken that the calves were prepared for high forage as well as high cereal, systems.

At all times, the mission of the National Beef Association is to continually promote and support the UK beef industry at all levels and by engaging with the Government and Devolved Administrations to defend the interest of British beef farmers.  For more information about Beef from the Dairy Herd or becoming a member of the National Beef Assocation contact; Chris Mallon, NBA national director - 07796 543647.