About Beef Farming in Ireland

World Leading Beef Industry

The Irish Beef Industry mostly runs in conjunction with the national dairy herd of 1.14 million cows. You can see first-hand Ireland's renowned reputation for sustainable grass-based production systems that enable Ireland's farmers to produce high quality & marketable beef products.

During your agri tour we could arrange for you to see the three types of cattle systems in farms across Ireland right now:

  • specialist Beef Production
  • specialist Dairy Farming
  • Combined Dairy Farming & Beef Production (Most Widely Practiced)

As part of the Agri Tours beef farm tour of Ireland, you could learn how the Irish farmer carefully chooses the breed of cow with beef production in mind. Pure dairy farming is an rare practice in Ireland at the moment. Considering all dairy animals must calve annually to produce milk, this would lead to a surplus of dairy animals. Most of the calves are fattened and sold on as beef. The Irish farmer selects cow and bull combinations for a balanced performance of dairy production and beef production.

Also another aspect you will see on your beef farm tour of Ireland is that once a cow has finished her potential for dairy farming, the cow is slaughtered for beef, again affecting the choice of breed a farmer selects. In Ireland, most beef animals originate from the dairy herd. The main source of beef animals is Munster and then they are relocated nationwide for fattening.

one of our Irish beef farmers
Two Friesan Bulls.

The Importance of the Beef Industry to Ireland

The Irish beef industry is the largest sector of the agricultural economy in Ireland. On your beef tour, experience an industry where 0.5 tonnes are produced per individual beef animal from 4.5 million beef animals nationwide. The main countries to which Ireland exports beef include Germany, UK, Iran and Egypt. It is important to note on your beef tour of Ireland that beef farming has the lowest income per hectare in Irish farms in comparison to other types of farming.

Breed Selection for Beef Production

On your beef farm tour of Ireland gain insight into the different breeds of beef animal in Ireland. The most common beef animals in Ireland are friesan or friesan cross. They usually derive from high quality friesan bull. Low yielding dairy cows are typically crossed with pure beef breeds like Charolais, whose offspring are all used for beef produce. On your beef tour of Ireland learn about animal growth and development and the effect this has on the final beef produce. In terms of growth rates there are two types of growth patterns:

  1. Constant feed on high level of nutrition
  2. Over winter storage animals

In Ireland winter storage is most common. Irish farmers can explain on the beef farm tours how they keep the winter feed costs down leading to increased profitability.

Bulls, heifers, bullocks and steers

Your beef tour may include highlighting the role sex status plays on growth. Bulls, heifers and castrated males (bullocks and steers) are the most widely used in beef production in Ireland as they have the fastest growth rates. Males can be disruptive and violent so nearly all males in the Irish beef industry are castrated so that they are tamer. Bulls and steers have higher growth rates than heifers.

For your interest as part of the beef tour of Ireland, weights these animals grow to by the time of slaughter are:

  1. Bull 700-750kg
  2. Steer 500-550kg
  3. Heifer 400-450kg

Irish Livestock Market Experience

An authentic immersion into a local livestock market; this is an unparalleled experience of Ireland’s intimate relationship with agriculture. Tour a local farm, meet real farmers and hear stories passed down for generations before heading to the livestock market, to see farmers bidding for top cattle or sheep.

Irish Livestock

young calf
Charolais Bull, often crossed with dairy cows.

Beef Associations in Ireland

Irish Aberdeen Angus Association

Find out about shows, reports and sale dates as well as other information relating to Aberdeen-Angus cattle within Ireland.

Irish Aberdeen Angus More About Irish Aberdeen Angus

Irish Limousin Cattle Society

Find information on everyting you need to know about limousin cattle in Ireland, from dairy to calf sales.

irish limousin cattle society Irish Limousin Cattle Society

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