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National Dairy Conference Questions Answered: Profitability of later born calves

Today's question, the last in the series of unanswered questions from the Virtual Dairy Conference is on whether later born calves (April- May) leave a profit for the beef farmer? All this week and last, Teagasc Dairy Specialists answered these. Nicky Byrne, Teagasc Grange answers this one here

Teagasc researcher Nicky Byrne discussed the dairy research programme at Grange and outlined his experience at finishing dairy breed and dairy beef breed calves at between 22 and 24 months of age. The calves purchased for the study were predominantly February-March born. A member of the audience asked the following question:

Can later born calves (April- May) leave a profit for the beef farmer? Is there any work completed on the profitability of these calves?

According to Nicky, the carcass potential of April-May born calves may not be sufficient to cover the costs incurred of a longer winter finishing period. ‘Our analysis shows that such animals may be more profitably finished off grass during their third summer at around 28 months of age. It must however be remembered that cattle finished at an older age may have increased emissions relative to the carcass yield that they produce. From a national perspective, later finishing also may result in an increased herd size’.

See more on the Virtual Dairy Conference 2021 here.

The complete Dairy Conference Proceedings can be viewed here and the individual articles were published on Teagasc Daily throughout last week. See Teagasc Daily - Dairy for more.