Join us for a tour to gain insights into the unique way of Irish beef farming. Farm Tours Ireland gives you access to the largest beef producers in the world, exclusive visits to the largest beef processing units and lets you sample Ireland's prime beef.
Ireland produces approximately 550,000 tonnes of beef annually. About 10% of this is consumed domestically, meaning 500,000 tonnes is exported worth €1.8 billion. Nearly 98% of exports are destined for the UK and continental Europe. Along with exported carcass beef, almost 200,000 live cattle are exported to continental Europe to meet the demand of the feedlot industry for high quality, healthy animals.
There are currently over 7 million cattle in Ireland, which is nearly double the human population.
The main asset for the Irish beef industry is the suckler cow herd. The dams are generally Angus, Hereford, Limousin, Charolais or Simmental. These cows are crossed with terminal sires such as Charolais, Limousin and Belgian Blue. The calves produced are of high genetic merit and the best quality.
These calves are reared with their mothers on grass based diets for 8 months before being weaned. They then enter either highly efficient finishing programmes off-grass or family run feedlots.
While the main component of the feeding system is grass, home grown alternative forage, cereal grain and a range of by products from the brewing and distilling industry are also fed to the animals.
All Irish beef is produced to comply with the highest animal welfare standards. The major advantage of beef animals being fed mainly grass based diets means that Irish beef has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world.