The aim of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy-Beef Integration Programme was to analyse and demonstrate the benefits and risks involved throughout the supply chain in order to increase the supply of quality calves to the finishing industry.
The AgResearch-led project, led by Dr Vicki Burggraaf, AgResearch Farm Systems Scientist, was funded by Beef + Lamb NZ Mid-Northern Farmer Council with in-kind support from LIC and Ezicalve (proven Hereford sires).
The release of the Final Report provides the detail behind preliminary findings released to the red meat and dairy sectors in early September.
Dr Burggraaf said the beef industry is becoming increasingly reliant on calves sourced from dairy farms, but the sires of these calves have traditionally been of poor or unknown genetic potential for beef production.
“The study demonstrated that using proven sires with high Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for calving ease limited calving problems and those with high EBVs for liveweight produced cattle with higher growth rates.
“The use of proven beef sires with high EBVs for calving ease and liveweight over dairy cows has benefits for dairy and beef farmers,” Dr Burggraaf said.
The Manager of the Dairy Beef Integration Programme, Doug Lineham, said the findings “confirm what we’re seeing in the market where dairy farmers are receiving up to three or four times the value of a bobby calf for a quality dairy/beef animal.
“The detail included in the final report provides dairy farmers with renewed confidence that breeding low BW cows to proven beef genetics is the way to go for the future.