Online forum to explore dairy beef opportunity

Online forum to be held on July 29 to explore dairy beef issues

Herd Management
OPPORTUNITY: Developing dairy beef supply chains is a vital link in helping Australian dairy farmers manage surplus calves.

OPPORTUNITY: Developing dairy beef supply chains is a vital link in helping Australian dairy farmers manage surplus calves.

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An online forum exploring the opportunities for dairy beef will be held later this month.

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An online forum exploring the opportunities for dairy beef will be held later this month.

The forum, hosted by Australian Dairy Farmers, will feature international and Australian speakers.

It will also explore the challenges of surplus calf management.

A dairy farmer who has moved into crossbreeding with beef will explain how it works on his farm, while a farmer who has established a dairy beef calf-rearing operation supplying animals for the beef supply chain will outline the key factors for success.

The event, which is supported by Dairy Australia's animal health and welfare team, will firstly set the scene for dairy beef by looking at current Australian practices.

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World-renowned calf-rearing researcher Professor Nina von Keyserlingk, from the University of British Colombia in Canada, will then provide an overview of what surplus calf management needs to look like into the future.

The forum will also hear from a raft of research projects looking at dairy beef in Australia, including the NSW South Coast Calf Pathways pilot project, the Charles Sturt University Dairy Beef Project and the Queensland-based C4 Milk Dairy Beef research.

ADF president Terry Richardson said the Australian dairy industry had long been grappling with the management of calves not required as replacement milking females, including bull calves and surplus heifers.

"At the heart of the issue lies the often-low dollar value attributed to surplus calves; a factor that at times makes early life slaughter seem the least costly pathway for managing them," he said.

Dairy beef production was one way farmers could increase the value of these calves.

But it was important to find a way to do this that was economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable over the long term.

"This challenge is substantial but one that the industry must face," Mr Richardson said.

The free forum will held from 9am to 1.30pm on July 29 and people can register at https://dairyaustraliasf.secure.force.com/dc/reg/unpaid-online-event---template.

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