15 Aug 2022

Thomastown farm hosts launch of DairyBeef500 campaign


The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD with Peter, Jenny, Grace and Sadie O’Hanrahan and Thomas and Olive O’Hanrahan, along with Liam Herlihy, Chairman of Teagasc, and Professor Frank O’M

A new programme focussed on dairy beef production has been launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD.

The launch of the called DairyBeef500 programme was held on the Thomastown farm of Peter O’Hanrahan. Minister McConalogue was welcomed to the farm by Peter and Jenny O’Hanrahan and Peter’s parents Thomas and Olive. Peter farms in partnership with his father Thomas and runs Friesian and early maturing steers in a calf to beef system.

Dairy calf to beef demonstration farms have been selected throughout the country to illustrate key technologies. These include calf rearing, grassland management, calf health, nutrition, financial management, animal health & welfare, environmental sustainability and the appropriate use of dairy beef genetics.

The DairyBeef500 campaign, which is led by Teagasc, will promote the adoption of best practice at farm level to increase the future viability and sustainability of the Irish beef sector. The campaign is part of the Teagasc Signpost programme.

“Our beef sector is truly world class with our farmers the bedrock of the sector,” said Minister McConalogue. “It will promote greater integration of the dairy and beef sectors, to ensure that there is a market outlet for calves from the dairy herd, and to provide an attractive business option for beef farmers. We want to explore all avenues to help generate the strongest possible income for farmers.”

Director of Teagasc, Professor Frank O’Mara, acknowledged the support from the partner companies in the DairyBeef500 programme and thanked the 15 farmers, including Peter O’Hanrahan, who will be demonstration farms as part of the programme.

“The DairyBeef500 partners will also be an integral part of the Signpost Programme,” he said. “They will contribute to the national initiative of reducing agricultural emissions.”

The DairyBeef500 Campaign will promote and demonstrate dairy-beef systems, which are socially, environmentally and financially sustainable. The focus will be on a number of key objectives:
Target a net margin of €500 per hectare excluding direct payments.
Increase the adoption of best practices, especially in relation to grassland management and calf rearing and herd health.
Reduce the environmental footprint of dairy beef production.
Establish a cohort of profitable dairy beef producers.
Create greater integration between beef and dairy industries.
Improve the beef merit of calves coming from the dairy herd.

The DairyBeef500 demonstration farm programme is being supported by industry partners - Volac, Munster Bovine, Drummonds Ltd., Liffey Mills, MSD Animal Health and Corteva AgriScience (TP Whelehans).

Demonstration Farm
As part of the DairyBeef 500 Campaign, a dairy calf-to-beef demonstration farm based at Ballyvadin, Fethard, Co Tipperary, has been set up as a joint venture between Teagasc, Dawn Meats and Shinagh Estates Ltd (Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh, Lisavaird and Carbery).
The Ballyvadin farm will demonstrate the deployment of best technologies in sustainable dairy calf to beef production.
Additionally, it will produce beef of high quality from both the processor and consumers perspective.
Further information on the DairyBeef500 campaign is available from

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