The importance of producing a higher commercial beef value (CBV) calf was one of the main messages being directed at farmers at Teagasc's dairy beef open day in Ballyvadin, Co Tipperary on Wednesday 10 July.

The south Tipperary demonstration farm which was set up just over a year ago opened its gates to the public on Wednesday for the first time.

Spanning 270ac in total, the majority of the farm is used for the dairy beef enterprise with approximately 25ac in spring barley. The farm was stocked initially with 325 calves in 2023 and 335 calves in 2024 and these will be reared through to beef as steers and heifers.

Speaking during the live forum, Pat Dillon, director of research with Teagasc said that beef farmers will have to start looking for CBV and start demanding it when buying calves from dairy farmers.


The integration between dairy farmers and beef farmers, he argued, is extremely important.

"It's all about working together, using the best genetics and supplying that to industry - then everyone gains," Dillon said.

This point was echoed by Margaret Kelleher of ICBF who said that it's the beef farmers rearing these calves who are in demand. Dairy farmers, she said, really need and depend on these rearers.

Kelleher said she expects that dairy farmers not taking CBV into account will soon find it very hard to sell their calves.

"With people now using CBV and genotyping, you might actually find that some farmers won't have an outlet and there's other risks to the outlets as well," she said.

While a good CBV in dairy beef calves can range from €60 to €200, what's important when dairy farmers are choosing bulls is the dairy beef index (DBI) - this needs to be well over €100, Kelleher explained.

The bulls that were used by the dairy farmers supplying Ballyvadin this year had a DBI of €157 which was €46 higher than the national average.

The Tipperary dairy calf-to-beef demonstration farm is a joint initiative between Dawn Meats, Shinagh Estates and Teagasc.