Dawn Meats to issue SOS plea
Dawn Meats is to organise regional meetings aimed at getting farmers on board its new Save Our Sucklers (SOS) Club.
The group has received expressions of interest from more than 100 farmers since details of the new once-bred heifer-production system were recently announced.
The company, which aims to have the initiative up and running in May, now plans to start a national advertising campaign to promote the scheme and gauge farmer interest.
"The response we get will dictate how many meetings are necessary and where they will be held," said Paul Nolan, of Dawn Meats. "We think it's a good idea, Bord Bia thinks it's a good idea and we also have the backing of Teagasc."
The SOS Club has the potential to significantly increase the output generated from heifer weanlings. Mr Nolan said the protocol had been developed in consultation with Dawn Meats' continental customers, and would allow for heifers to be calved down prior to fattening them.
He said that if animals were produced to the correct specification, the price paid for the once-bred heifer would be the same as the base price for steers. He said farmers would be paid under the quality payment system.
While the age limit for slaughter will be set at 36 months, any heifer slaughtered under 30 months will receive the 6c/kg in-spec quality assurance payment.
Other key criteria that farmers will have to adhere to are: