Northern Irish farmers supplying Dale Farm have a new way to market dairy beef calves after the milk processor entered into a supply chain partnership with meat processor ABP.
Dairy farmers who use selected Aberdeen Angus genetics will be able to sell the calves to ABP at four weeks of age, with a premium paid for achieving desired genetic traits.
Alternatively, they – or current ABP beef farmers – can opt to become a rearing unit for four-week-old calves, with ABP providing inputs and a management regime to follow.
In return, they will receive a management fee per calf, with bonuses for hitting performance targets.
There will also be support for farmers who take the calves through to finishing to enhance their production efficiency and cap slaughter age at 20-21 months.
ABP says this will reduce herd carbon emissions and improve financial returns.
Dale Farm told Farmers Weekly that the scheme is not currently a precursor to the phasing out of shooting bull calves on farm.
Last July, Morrisons and Arla launched a similar scheme in partnership with Buitlelaar to take both dairy- and beef-sired calves from its Morrisons-aligned farms to transition away from bull calf euthanasia.
Dale Farm group chief executive Nick Whelan said: “This partnership with ABP will offer our members the opportunity to create a sustainable outlet for dairy-bred male calves, in addition to an incremental revenue stream for participants.”
The scheme is now open for applications and farmers seeking more information should contact Chris Frizzell at Dale Farm or Arthur Callaghan at ABP.