ICMSA Propose Scheme for Sustainable Beef Production

Commenting on the possibility of Government support for farmers rearing animals from the dairy herd for beef, the President of ICMSA said that his organisation would welcome this support: “Over 50% of all the beef in the country originates in the dairy herd and it is a sector that requires support if it is to reach its potential” said Mr. Pat McCormack. He noted that it is anticipated that approximately 1.8m cows will calve down next Spring, while in 2018 just over 1m calves were dairy-bred bull calves or calves with a beef sire and a dairy dam.

“In order for the dairy sector to remain sustainable we must have sufficient markets for these calves next Spring” said Mr. Mc Cormack. “This means that the live export market must remain open for our dairy-bred beef calves but also that we must support farmers that are willing to rear the beef cross calves here in Ireland. With this in mind ICMSA are making a formal suggestion to the Minister to put the funds towards incentivising farmers to rear these calves. The beef sector is under very significant financial pressure. Dairy beef has been demonstrated to be the most profitable beef production system – albeit returns are still low. We want support to be targeted to this production system as the figures show it to be the most viable”, he continued.

Briefly, ICMSA is suggesting that beef cross calves from the dairy herd be subsidised to the value of €150 in two payments, €75 on receipt of recorded weight at 6-10 months and the second payment at slaughter. The calves would have to be sired by a beef bull with good beef characteristics.  “We would strongly recommend that for farmers should be allowed exit the BDGP scheme early without clawback of payments in order to enter the scheme. The landscape of dairy and beef farming has changed considerably in the last few years, ICMSA is focused on providing solutions and we believe this scheme would tackle some of the problems faced by both industries” concluded Mr. McCormack, who confirmed that the organisation will meet the Minister in the coming days to discuss the plan in detail.

Ends    17 October 2019

Pat McCormack, 087-7608958

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office