Eighty percent of Ireland’s agricultural area is devoted to grasslands—with a yearly grass growth rate that exceeds the European average by more than a third. A temperate climate and plenty of rainfall make Ireland naturally suited to grass-based farming systems. Dairy cows and beef herds have the freedom to graze on lush pastures up to 300 days a year.
The harsher winter months are the only time animals are taken off grass. During this time, they are housed to ensure animal welfare and to avoid damage to pastures. While housed, the grass diet is supplemented with grain feed to ensure optimal nutrition. As soon as the weather becomes milder, cattle are free to graze in open fields again.
Benefits of Grass Fed Dairy
Ireland’s 17,000 dairy farms produced 7.2 billion litres of milk in 2017, of which at least 90% was exported. The international demand for Irish dairy is a direct result of the reputation this produce has for quality. A grass fed diet is a key contributing factor to a high-quality product. Research has shown that grass-fed dairy has superior nutritional properties, appearance, flavour and colour (Profiling Milk from Grass, 2016).
Benefits of Grass Fed Beef
Ireland has a long-standing heritage of beef farming. Our farmers believe that food is best when it is simple and natural. Irish beef cattle are raised on a pasture-based system to allow as much time grazing on lush grasses as possible. Grass-fed beef offers a fuller, meatier flavour as a result of time spent grazing. Grass fed has more evenly distributed fat and marbling, a deep burgundy colour, high levels of vitamins and a high ratio of omega-3 fatty acids.
Zero Growth Hormones and Responsible Antibiotic Use
Growth hormones are prohibited and regulated under Irish and European Union legislation at farm and factory levels.
Antibiotics are strictly regulated and only allowed when prescribed by a veterinarian for the treatment of sick or injured animals. They are never used to stimulate growth.