3 August 2001

Irish producers are committed to quality beef

EIRE beef producers are making a strong commitment to quality, with well over half their suckler replacements now three-quarter-bred females reared in beef herds.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation says the trend is a positive sign and indicates that producers are making a conscious decision on suckler herd replacement breeding, instead of relying on the dairy herd.

The societys data, based on calf births in 1998, shows that 66% of suckler replacements entering the beef herd in 2000 were three-quarter-bred.

Female replacements entering the Eire beef herd last year numbered 142,500, suggesting a suckler replacement rate of 14%. The total number of calves bred out of beef cows in 2000 was just short of 1m.

ICBFs research shows that 34% of the 2000-calf crop – 48,200 head – were first crosses bred from the dairy herd and 94,200 were three-quarter-bred beef animals.

More detailed investigations revealed that of the first-cross animals just over half were sired by either Aberdeen Angus or Hereford bulls with the rest by Charolais, Limousin, Simmental and Belgian Blue.

But the number of cattle breeding herds in Eire in 2000 continued to decline by about 4200 a year and stood at 104,007. &#42