Dawn Meats are at the forefront in providing leadership on initiatives which seek to support the commercial and environmental sustainability of agriculture. The Group Agriculture Manager leads the way through ongoing liaison and discussion with both the procurement teams and with farmer suppliers. By identifying & working with respected leaders in the farming community at local level, we encourage discussion of best practises and sharing of information between the stakeholders.
Dawn Meats has focused attention in the last number of years in the following areas:
- Dawn Meats / Teagasc Beef Partnership
- The Better Farm Programme
- McDonald’s Flagship Beef Farm
- Dairy Beef Club
- Save Our Sucklers
- Liver Fluke Reporting
- Dawn Direct Supplier Newsletter
Dawn/Teagasc Beef Partnership
Over a period of 5 years, the Dawn Meats / Teagasc Beef Partnership sought to demonstrate how profitability could be achieved on beef finishing, through effective animal husbandry, grassland management and improved communication between processor, agricultural advisor and farmer. This was a working partnership of 300 suppliers, dedicated Agricultural Advisors and Dawn Meats personnel, which pioneered the use of profit monitors to measure progress amongst the participating beef farmers.
Dawn Meats and Teagasc have since convinced The Irish Farmers Journal and a number of other processors to support and sponsor this programme on a national basis and the “Better Farm Programme” was born.
BETTER Farm Programme
The BETTER farm beef programme is run by Teagasc in conjunction with the Irish Farmers Journal, FBD, Dawn Meats and two other Irish processors. The programme aims to develop a road map for profitable beef production through improving technical efficiency within the farm gate. The project started with 16 BETTER Farms and in 2012 was rolled out to accommodate a total of 32 BETTER Farms across Ireland.
The BETTER Farm programme focuses on:
- Boosting profitability on farms by reducing production costs
- Increasing farm output through improved animal performance
All areas of the production system are looked at and the latest technologies and research adopted to ensure maximum efficiency.
Flagship Farms Initiative
McDonalds launched the Beef Flagship element of its overall Flagship Farm Programme in June 2009.
The aim of the McDonald’s flagship farm programme is to promote and share the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices by using McDonalds’ case studies from its supply chain and to encourage broader adoption of these sustainable farming practices across the agricultural community.
Dawn Meats is proud to have 2 Flagship Beef farms in Ireland, Ray Dempsey in Co. Offaly, and John Power in Co Waterford.
Dairy Beef Club
The Dairy Beef Club initiative is one of a number of projects under active management by Dawn Meats which contribute to maintaining the volumes of beef available to the UK and Irish processing sectors. Dawn Meats Dairy Beef Club works with Teagasc on a research basis to investigate efficient production systems, Demo Farmers working on grassland management and commercial rearers/finisher on a “contracts with a twist” model.
Save Our Sucklers
The SOS Club embraces a number of concepts with the main aim to promote the sustainability of the suckler herd in both Ireland and the UK.
Dawn Meats identified a potential gap in the suckler herd, which has generated the once-bred heifer element of the SOS club. A number of heifers born within a suckler herd are not needed as replacements within the herd itself and end up being raised as beef animals and processed generally under 30 months. Dawn Meats acknowledged that it would be possible for these heifers to have a calf at under-36 months and achieve the equivalent of steer price, providing the farmer with another potential source of income.
A demonstration farm has been established in the West of Ireland to carefully monitor the economics of the Once-Bred Heifer system.
In addition to the once-bred heifer concept, the SOS club members have been issued with questionnaires asking for information about their herd’s performance to allow Dawn Meats to capture key data.
Liver Fluke Reporting
Dawn Meats have pioneered a system within the plants in Ireland to monitor liver rejections due to fluke and notify its farmer / suppliers with details of the animals concerned.
This helps farmers understand the levels of fluke within their herd and act accordingly. This information will also be collated between all the Dawn Meats sites to provide a better understanding on the levels and cost of the disease on a larger scale. The project is in the process of being rolled out to the Dawn Meats sites in the UK. It is estimated that over 600 beef farmers could benefit from this information service from Dawn Meats each week.
Dawn Direct Supplier Newsletter
The Dawn Direct Supplier Newsletter was launched in December 2010 as a way of communicating with our farmer suppliers, keeping them informed of any agricultural or environmental initiatives. The newsletters are sent out to approximately 10,000 farmers across the UK and Ireland.