Rob Drysdale publishes new report - Beef from the dairy herd – is integration the answer?

Can integration within the supply chain improve the quality and consistency of UK beef, therefore increasing supply and demand.

This required:  

  • Research: how countries with a history of dairy farming deal with dairy-bred bull calves as well as any beef-bred animals.
  • Investigation: does integration exist at any level within the beef industry - globally, dairy or suckled - aimed to improve the supply chain management and performance.
  • Review: integrated business models across several agricultural markets.
  • Question: retailer and consumer demands from beef supply chain.

Countries Visited Australia, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States Messages

  • As global demand for beef increases production models will need to adapt if both price and sustainability are to match consumer expectations.
  • Integration of dairy-bred calves into the beef supply chain can work to meet this demand.  The beef produced from dairy-bred animals should be viewed as potentially high quality, low carbon footprint and an ethically important source of meat protein.
  • Consistency, quality and sustainability should be the key messages of integrated beef from the dairy herd.
  • Differentiation is needed: dairy and single-suckled beef are two different products. The higher production cost and system sustainability of suckled beef must be reflected in a higher farm gate price, and passed on through the chain to the consumer.