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The importance of genetics in dairy-beef systems to maximise performance & profitability

As a joint episode between The Dairy Edge and The Beef Edge podcasts, dairy farmer Paul Delaney and Teagasc beef specialist Catherine Egan join Emma-Louise Coffey to discuss the importance of genetics in dairy-beef systems to maximise performance and profitability.

In 2024, Paul plans to use sexed semen on the top 35-40% of his herd followed by continental beef straws. When considering the impact of calving continental breeds, Paul says he focuses on calving difficulty and gestation length and has not encountered issues at calving.

He compares his experience of calving suckler and dairy cows and explains that he finds the dairy cows ‘open up better’ to calf and they are fit rather than fat, given the difference in their body condition at calving.

Paul has two repeat customers since he began milking six years ago, one for his Friesian bulls and one for his continentals. He sets the price for the calves based on the market value in the given year. His priority is to sell a healthy, good quality calf that will provide a margin for the beef farmer.  

For farmers who are placing a greater focus on the dairy beef index this year, Paul encourages farmers to give it a go and try with a handful of their cows. Where it works well, it will give farmers the confidence to continue adding value to the dairy beef calves into the future.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page

The Dairy Edge is a co-production with LastCastMedia.com