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.
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.
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.