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Dairy Calves 2024

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,800 Mod ✭✭✭✭Siamsa Sessions


    Seems things are becoming more uncertain all the time for dairy-beef.

    Maybe contract-rearing heifers might be safer? Or a variation on it?

    When I was considering milking cows myself in 2020-21, I bought 20 FR weanling heifers. I didn't do any AI and hired an AA bull from a local man. Thankfully all 20 went in calf and I sold them as in-calf heifers in Sept 2021. They left a nice touch and probably as much per head as some of the beef animals I have in the shed now will leave.

    They were nothing fancy. The EBI average was close to €200 but the man bought them didn't seem too interested in their breeding.

    If I could get 30 x Feb/March born FR heifers next Spring, I'd probably go down that route again. Sourcing those calves might not be so straightforward thou.

    Trading as Sullivan’s Farm on YouTube



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,221 ✭✭✭Dozer1


    Letter in the journal this week doesn't read well in my eyes arguing against the banning of calf slaughtering. Displays a poor attitude from dairy farmer who wrote it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,577 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves


    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,274 ✭✭✭✭Base price


    I just read it there and IMO it's either a troll or a fookin vegan - either which way anyone reading it that has at least two brain cells will see it for what it is.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,199 ✭✭✭Good loser


    Your attitude is amazing! I thought it was a perfectly reasonable letter and fully support the sentiments expressed in it. All options must be given consideration in the light of the carbon reduction targets.

    In the first instance it is completely immaterial to a bovine when it is killed, as that is the end for them all ultimately. There is a scheme about to be introduced by the Govt to reduce the slaughter age of cattle to less than 24 months. Where is the justification for drawing any line anywhere between 0 months and 24 or 36 or 44 or 80 months? When the end result is the same. Calf disposal is by far the easiest route to the 25% target; if they want that target achieved we must be allowed the means.



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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,800 Mod ✭✭✭✭Siamsa Sessions


    Science (if you want to call it that) will get you so far. But sentiment then takes over.

    Even leaving aside the public perception of farmers…If you follow the calf slaughter idea thru to its next step, then some lads will want to induce an abortion in the cow at 8.5 months. Wouldn’t that reduce GHGs even more?

    A bit of respect for the animal would go a long way. And before anyone says what about respect for the 24-month beef animal, just remember that’s what the anti-livestock crew say.

    Trading as Sullivan’s Farm on YouTube



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,274 ✭✭✭✭Base price


    I have previously stated that I personally have no issue with unwanted/financially non viable dairy bull calves been slaughtered in DAFM approved facilities however I accept that this is not how the majority of people feel. The social license that we have as farmers is no longer willing to tolerate the practice and I reckon any attempt to link it with carbon reduction/climate change will be met with derision.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,198 Mod ✭✭✭✭K.G.


    Personally i think this slaughter issue has had more discussion than it deserves as its only 30 k calves.where we in ireland should concentrat our time and energy is maintaining exports.theres 400k calves being exported and there is demand for them currently but they are definately facing headwinds.should we look at taking more control over the export procedure to ensure its done right.could air transport be an option.its highly unlikely that we are going to go away from seasonal calving but maybe taking calf wellfare and management into consideration having 90 % of your calves in 6 weeks isnt such a good option



  • Registered Users Posts: 577 ✭✭✭GNWoodd


    Assuming that you are not trolling , why not stop producing a worthless calf if you are so concerned about reducing GHG s



  • Registered Users Posts: 577 ✭✭✭GNWoodd


    Very well put . The farmers trying to justify calf slaughter are probably the very few who are doing it . I don’t have the figures to hand but my understanding is that most of the calves killed were coming from a very small number of herds which implies that the herds involved were large . Can you imagine a clown producing slurry from four or five hundred cows trying to justify calf slaughter on the grounds that he is doing his bit for the environment / climate change ? That would go down well on Prime Time



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭blackdog1


    Big problems coming down the road I reckon. Normally autumn calves make 80/100 but I'm hearing at marts the prices are bad? Anyone seeing this? If your getting 40 for an autumn calf, the spring ones won't be worth 5 euro. Looks like with high rentals and high feed prices , farmers who rear calves are disappearing.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,220 ✭✭✭Grueller


    Average calf rearer around here is 60+ yrs old. No young blood in the game. Its not a good Outlook.



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,577 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves


    Problem with calf slaughter is that calf exports age is going to increase to 6+ weeks by 2024. Therefore there would be a temptation to slaughter more and more. Add in that lads rearing the first cross Je and even the FRX is getting fewer and fewer. Finally you have a lot of poorer quality AA as well. Average DW for AA has dropped through the floor over the last 5years.

    Dairy farmers will have a choice produce a calf that is worth 2-300+ at 4-6 weeks or a calf that a lad will take off there hands at eight week. Is the cow making that 300 euro more in extra milk in 8 weeks

    The problem is not 30k calves being slaughtered it's 300k+ calves being slaughtered post 2024 if slaughter age was left at 10-14 days.

    Yes farmers rearing calves are getting fewer and fewer. A lot of that is down to calves going I to the mart at 10-14 days instead of 20-25 days 5+ years ago.

    Problem will be solved posted 2024. I be willing to take some of the poorer cross at 7-8 weeks if they are good and strong.

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,199 ✭✭✭Good loser


    I have reared calves for 40 plus years. I like calves as much as anyone. The slaughter of calves does not bother me. Just see it as the simplest route in the Irish set up to reducing GHG emissions. If THEY want a cut of 25% let THEM accept the consequences.



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,577 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves


    We will have no problem with GHG emissions of we slaughter 2-300k+ calves a year as we will not be sell any milk to the higher priced markets

    In NZ they are stopping once a day feeding until after 3 weeks of age. The bobby calf system is starting to come under pressure as well

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,021 ✭✭✭alps


    We don't sell milk to any higher priced market though. Bar Kerrygold butter, our products are often indistinguishable to the eventual consumer, be they used as ingredients or otherwise.

    The consumer for the vast majority of our product depend on the user of our ingredients to look after the etethical dimension tonthe product.

    It's interesting that some vocal in their defense of the use of calves for food run farm tours and don't shy from letting the visitors in on the outlet being available and used.



  • Registered Users Posts: 79 ✭✭QA1


    i won’t be rearing calves next year anyway reared calves the last good few years the calves I get are harder reared every year I get them of the 1 farmer every year he keeps getting biggger calves are not as well looks after they all get beastings but he has not them time to do as good a job and the calf shed get full so they have to go and another issue is AI the cows he has now are short gestation them selves and using short gestation on them they all calving before there time calves not as hardy I think anyway justice my thoughts



  • Registered Users Posts: 29,540 ✭✭✭✭whelan2


    150 for Hereford and Angus calves out of yard atm to farmers. No problem selling. Also 3 different dealers looking for Friesian bulls which I have none, edited to say I would never sell a calf in a mart



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,242 ✭✭✭green daries


    Your so far out of touch with the new reality of what the powers that be are pushing for its nearly laughable. They would prefer us to have to keep our calves to slaughter as for grassland management..... that's only going one way........... backwards I'm afraid



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,577 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves


    Is it the powers that be are out of touch or a small cohort of dairy farmers that have there heads stuck in the sand.

    Do you think that there will be no reaction by the public if 2-300k calves are being slaughtered.

    Slava Ukrainii



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,242 ✭✭✭green daries


    My post was supposed to be linked to grass post bass.....sorry I thought it was. Anyways I totally agree that it's a small cohort of farmers have their heads in the sand .......I find the idea of bobbying calves that a lot of aren't looked after properly before hand repulsive. It's not the way I was brought up.



  • Registered Users Posts: 378 ✭✭trg


    Be as good as any maybe. How would you be fixed if you got locked up with them before sale?



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,800 Mod ✭✭✭✭Siamsa Sessions


    I might take it as a sign and start milking them myself 😀

    Trading as Sullivan’s Farm on YouTube



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,225 ✭✭✭charolais0153


    If the stock are fit at 20 months. Can’t see it paying to put them in shed again



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,199 ✭✭✭Good loser


    The alternative to calf slaughter is a whole list of boring, costly, tiresome, pernickety regulations with the familiar enforcement mechanisms.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,207 ✭✭✭✭mahoney_j


    Bang on …saying that for a while …dairy farmers can’t have it all ..dbi and this new carbon index do nothing to improve quality of calves ..slaughter of young calves correctly going …although I think some form of force majoure will remain for something like tb breakdown



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,207 ✭✭✭✭mahoney_j


    Idiotic of the editor to let it go to print …and jaysus the lad that wrote it …scary to think we’ve people with that attitude in the industry



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,577 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves


    But there is a few flaws in the assumptions. The first is marketing. Cattle killed at 20ish months will have low body weights. 220-280 kgs most in the 250 kg brackets.

    While some are economic to do it wih you also ate starting to feed more and more ration to squeeze out the last of the bunch.

    Cost of over wintering cattle is not a massive issue. Up until this year decent silage alone to overwinter on costed 80c/day. This year it's about 1.25/ day. Fir a 130 day housing period that is 105 and 160 respectivly.

    The animal best fit to slaughter in the autumn is also best for early summer finish. Take a steer killing 260 in the autumn he will probably be an 0= at best at a base of 4.5 he be making 1155 euro gross.

    Killing him the following June he will should grade 2 points higher on the grid and probably weight at least 340kgs DW. Generally they will be a higher price as well. Comparing last autumn to last June the difference was a euro++/kg. Compare June to November this year it was 75c/kg++

    Even at 40c/kg at a base of 4.9 and the bullock grading R- @340 kgs DW he will gross 1735 with an extra margin of 580 euro.

    However it really depend on the animal and there ability to lay down fat and to grade or not to grade.

    Slava Ukrainii



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,199 ✭✭✭Good loser


    As I said above I think it's a perfectly reasonable letter and would be fully supportive of the course of action advocated. The 25% target changes everything and novel suggestions must be engaged with. Putting your head in the sand may be (more) idiotic than the letter!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,207 ✭✭✭✭mahoney_j


    Bet u do ….jaysus 😴😴😴…dairy farming is more than about the cow.if we don’t change our attitude to calves(some not all of us)calves should be left to us to rear ….



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