Longford Leader Farming: Glanbia and Kepak pilot new calf-to-beef initiative

Kevin Forde

Reporter:

Kevin Forde

Email:

kevin.forde@longfordleader.ie

Jim Bergin,  Michael Creed TD and John Horgan at the launch  Picture:  Finbarr O'Rourke

Jim Bergin, Michael Creed TD and John Horgan at the launch Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

Glanbia Ireland and Kepak group have announced details of a new calf-to-beef programme, the Twenty20 Beef Club, which affords members a guaranteed market for their heifers and steers with a predictable and transparent pricing formula at time of slaughter.

For Kepak customers and consumers, the Twenty20 Beef Club will provide a secure and predictable supply of high-quality beef with unrivalled traceability and with the attributes of a “closed loop” supply chain. This year will be a pilot year for the programme, with a target of 6,000 calves from Glanbia Ireland supplier dairy farms in the Republic of Ireland. Over the coming years, Glanbia Ireland and Kepak have ambitious plans to rapidly expand numbers to 50,000 calves per annum.

In a world-first in the beef sector, Glanbia Co-op has provided funding for the pilot phase to allow its Members of the Twenty20 Beef Club to benefit from an advanced payment of up to €770 per animal to provide cashflow during the animal’s lifetime. This optional programme component, administered by Finance Ireland, will pay a Twenty20 Beef Club Member €35 per animal per month from months 3 to 24.

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The Twenty20 Beef Club is open to Glanbia Co-op Members and current Kepak suppliers. Members can be either dairy farmers or beef finishers, with a minimum of 25 calves required per farm. Suckler farmers that purchase dairy/beef calves can also enroll qualifying animals bred and produced on their own farm that meet the club criteria in the programme.

Animals enrolled in the first two years (2019 and 2020) will be paid the average market price, plus a club premium of 15 to 25 cent per kg, as well as a club protocol bonus of 12 c/kg. Club members will also benefit from additional price support if market prices weaken, as well as a seasonality bonus to promote the marketing of animals in April (+6c/kg), May (+10c/kg) and June (+6c/kg).

Members can also avail of Angus and Hereford breed bonus payments. At an average market base price of €4.00/kg, a Twenty20 Beef Club Angus steer slaughtered in April 2021 will qualify for a net price of €4.43/kg; at a market price of €3.75/kg, the same animal would earn €4.28/kg.

Members of the club will be required to strictly adhere to a defined rearing programme which was jointly developed by Glanbia Ireland and Kepak. They have designed the initial five-year programme to meet ambitious economic and environmental performance targets.To assure the feed and food safety credentials of beef from the Twenty20 Beef Club and to deliver the optimum animal performance, all relevant farm inputs consumed by club herds will be sourced and supplied by Glanbia Ireland (GI).

GI and Kepak technical teams will provide farm support and nutritional advice to participating farmers. This includes guidance on sire selection to optimise animal performance and eating quality, on meeting market requirements and on slaughter timings.

Members of the club will be required to strictly adhere to a defined rearing programme, jointly developed by Glanbia Ireland and Kepak. Glanbia Ireland and Kepak have designed the initial five-year programme to meet ambitious economic and environmental performance targets.

The main targets of the programme is to reduce the average slaughter age of cattle, to reduce carbon footprint of member farms, improve the eating quality of meal produced by said farms, Increase the proportion of dairy bred cattle meeting market targets and to increase beef output and sales value per hectare.

Jim Bergin, Chief Executive Glanbia Ireland: “This initiative is about two of the leading players in farm inputs and beef production being proactive in combining their skills to produce a more sustainable beef production model.”