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Dairy calf-to-beef system evaluation Teagasc Grange

14 April 2020
Type Press Release

BEEF 14th April: The Teagasc Grange dairy calf-to-beef system evaluation compares the physical and financial performance of three DAIRY-BEEF genetic groups. View video update below.

The objective of the Teagasc Grange dairy calf-to-beef system evaluation is to compare the physical and financial performance of three DAIRY-BEEF genetic groups, within an efficient grass-based production system. These consist of male Holstein Friesian (HF) and two Angus (AAX) groups representing the main calf breeds coming from the dairy herd. The HF group are the progeny of the top 4 EBI sires on the active bull list in the previous breeding season. The two AAX groups are the progeny of AA sires that were ranked high for carcass weight and conformation (HIGH AAX) or low for carcass weight and conformation (LOW AAX), but both had similar breeding values for calving ease. All progeny are from HF dams and sired by AI bulls.

Each of the progeny groups are grazed separately but managed identically. Each group has its own farmlet of 31 acres (12.5 ha), carrying 40 male calves (0-12 months) and 40 yearlings (12-24 months) over the entire grazing season. An intensive grass-based system of production is implemented using best grazing management practices. All inputs and outputs from each of the farmlets are measured and used in the animal and financial performance analysis. Calves are purchased from commercial dairy farms throughout the country. Calves arrivie on farm at approximately 21 days of age. The effect of early calf nutrition on lifetime performance is also evaluated, with half of the three groups reared on either 4 or 8 L of milk replacer/day. Each group of animals receives 48-hour grass allocations, grazing to a post-grazing sward height of 4 cm.