ABP has launched a new sustainable calf-to-beef production scheme called 'Advantage Beef Programme', which will pay farmers a sustainability bonus of 20c/kg.

The new scheme is open to dairy, beef and suckler farming enterprises and will guarantee a sustainability bonus for animals reared to agreed protocols and bred to an approved minimum genetic merit standard by 2023.

All prices are in addition to the relevant quality assurance (QA) bonus and, as well as this, ABP has said that all cattle will be paid on the average quoted price (AQP) for steers and heifers of the seven ABP/Slaney plants on the week of slaughter on the grid.

Other benefits

  • Breed bonus paid for Angus breed.
  • A Hereford bonus will be paid to existing Hereford prime members who supply Hereford cattle to ABP.
  • The AQP will be the same for steers, heifers and young bulls under 16 months.
  • By way of verification, the AQP will not diverge by more than 5c/kg from the AQP for all of the listed plants in the country as published in the Irish agri media.
  • ABP has said that animals participating in the programme are expected to be marketed at 18 to 28 months, depending on the farming system, with an average age of 24 months, some three months below the national average.

    This will ensure a significant reduction of emissions per animal, resulting in a more carbon-efficient and lower cost of production model overall.

    Cattle requirements

  • Animal must be purchased from a Bord Bia QA herd.
  • Animal must be reared all of life in a Bord Bia QA herd (all of life in an Advantage Beef Programme herd not required).
  • All breeds are eligible, with the exception of Jersey cattle or beef cattle with 12.5% Jersey breeding/any other extreme dairy breeds.
  • Includes cattle sourced from the dairy and beef herds.
  • Steers and heifers must be a minimum 12 months (365 days) on the finishing farm.
  • Young bulls under 16 months must be a minimum six months (183 days) on the finishing farm.
  • Maximum of one movement (two residencies).
  • There is an exception of one extra movement for animals that have been reared in a contracted rearing system. It must be an ABP-approved rearing farm and calves must be moved on to the finishing farm before reaching five months of age.
  • Minimum of 20 cattle per finisher herd.
  • Steers, heifers and young bulls (maximum of 10% of scheme cattle to be young bulls).
  • Suckler-bred young bulls will be prioritised over dairy-bred bulls. All bulls entering the programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Farmers will also be free to purchase feed from a supplier that suits them best.

    Commenting at the launch, ABP Ireland managing director Kevin Cahill said: “We are delighted to launch this inclusive integrated beef programme, which will be open to beef, dairy and suckler farmers."

    ABP’s research has involved over 4,000 animals since 2014 and has demonstrated that with a data-driven select breeding approach, significant methane emission reductions are achievable.

    The research is being supported by Teagasc, and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation has also found that returns to farmers could increase by up to €200.

    Similar research work has also been undertaken by ABP in the UK in collaboration with Harper Adams University.