Project code: DB-24-04

Duration October 2004 - January 2005

Team and Leader R.M. Kirkland, T.W.J. Keady and D. Anderson

Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland

Background and Summary

The continuing trend for increased use of Holstein genetics in dairy herds has resulted in a large number of Holstein-Friesian bull calves becoming available, at low cost, as a potential resource for the beef industry. Finishing of these cattle on intensive feeding regimes has become more attractive in recent years reflecting, inter alia, the reduction in cereal prices and availability of subsidy payments.

 These animals will provide a valuable contribution to beef supplies as the number of beef calves from the suckler herd declines post implementation of the Mid Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy. However, profitability is the key determinant of the viability of any production system, and in the post de-coupling era where beef production must be sustained in a market driven environment, producers must receive sufficient returns to ensure the system remains viable.

A previous project, jointly funded by AgriSearch and DARD, evaluated the influence of slaughter weight on animal performance, feed efficiency, meat yield and meat quality characteristics. While the latter study provided detailed assessments of production characteristics of Holstein bulls, there was no assessment of financial performance of the enterprise.


The project involved undertaking a detailed financial analysis of the Holstein bull beef production study recently completed at ARINI.

Project completed - Results can be found in AgriSearch Booklet 12.


1. Identify the optimum weight to slaughter Holstein bulls under a range of feed cost/beef price scenarios.
2. Identify the price which producers must obtain to make a margin from Holstein bull beef production.

FileDescriptionFile size
Download this file (Book_12_-_Holstein_Bull_Beef-1.pdf)Holstein Bull Beef ProductionEconomic Evaluation of Holstein Bull Beef Production - DB-24-04 246 kB