A 112ha dairy calf-to-beef demonstration farm in Co Tipperary has been launched this week as a joint initiative between Dawn Meats, Shinagh Estates and Teagasc.

The farm at Ballyvadin, Fethard, Co Tipperary, is leased for 15 years from April 2022 and is rearing over 300 dairy-beef calves to finish each year.

Teagasc said the farm will demonstrate profitable dairy calf-to-beef systems using the best available dairy-beef genetics, coupled with best practice in animal husbandry. This is alongside a focus on pasture and silage management.


The farm’s key objectives are to show:

  • The significant advantage of strong collaboration between beef and dairy farmers in the breeding and transfer of healthy calves.
  • Operate a financially sustainable farm business using excellent pasture management, early age at slaughter and high animal health and welfare.
  • Minimise both nitrogen and phosphorus losses to the environment.
  • Implement mitigation strategies that reduce the impact of dairy calf-to-beef farming on climate change.
  • Incorporate a proportion of the farm into high diversity landscape features.
  • Implement mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and ammonia emissions to the environment.
  • Reduce the use of antibiotics and anthelmintics.
  • Partnership

    Speaking at the farm’s launch event, Dawn Meats chief executive officer Niall Browne said partnership between the beef and dairy sectors is key to this project.

    “It will send a strong message to the supply chain.

    “This farm can demonstrate the importance of using the best genetics to produce a beef calf, operating high animal health standards, getting the feeding right both at grass and indoors and achieving the levels of finish required by the marketplace,” he added.

    Teagasc director professor Frank O’ Mara said demonstration farms are significant in communicating information and it was important to have both the dairy and beef sectors involved.

    Shinagh Estates chair Donal Santry said learnings from the farm will be relevant nationwide.

    An open day will take place on Wednesday 10 July from 11am. A live forum will take place at 2pm. All farmers are welcome to attend.