Organic Beef Company Turns to Fodder for Solutions
An innovative Organic Beef company from Munster, the Dingle Dexter Beef Company have turned to a new way of feeding their Dexter beef cattle with a brand new hydroponic feeding system from Fodder Solutions.
One of the founders of the Dingle Dexter Beef Company, Dr Steve Collins, MBE is both a medical doctor and has a doctorate in nutrition. Throughout the 1990’s he worked in the worst of the famines in Africa developing new ways to treat severely malnourished people. He developed a model of response, the Community-based Therapeutic care (CTC) which is now used worldwide to treat malnourished people, this then led on to the formation of Valid International, a company which Steve set up to help people from the poorest parts of the world grow nutritiously good food and in turn increase their standard of living.
Steve has spent the past six years in Bantry developing this new organic beef enterprise along similar lines, this time by linking farmers to higher value markets. The vision of the company is to supply premium quality organic beef from traditional Irish cattle. The Dexter cattle, native to the South West are hardy creatures which can thrive on rough grazing and living out, yet Steve is a strong believer in maximising nutritional value. Through a link from ‘Organics with Altitude’ he was informed of the Fodder Solutions livestock feeding system and immediately took an interest.
The Fodder Solutions specialised hydroponic growing system provides a highly nutritious and cost effective living feed for all foraging livestock from beef and dairy cattle to horses and sheep. Barley seeds are placed in a growing tray in the system, the growing process takes 6 days and is ready for harvest as a 15 to 20cm high grass mat. The system provides a consistent, daily supply of fresh feed.
The feed contains high protein levels, but with very little starch. Over 90% of the feed is digestible and the entire mat of feed is edible so there is no waste.
Steve said “we have poor grazing in West Cork and the Fodder Solutions feed increases the nutritional content of the meat”. Steve is looking to demonstrate that meat raised on sprouted barley has a nutritional profile that can help protect people against heart disease. The Fodder Solutions system fits in very well with the Dingle Dexter ethos, as it saves the purchase of any silage for the cattle which in turn keeps the price of the meat from escalating and also provides the missing nutrients the cattle need to be able to thrive on the rough mountain grazing. Steve said “it is a cost effective and organic way of feeding the cattle.”
Liam McGreevy of Fodder Solutions said “with Steve’s scientific background and wealth of experience, he can fully appreciate the nutritional benefits that Fodder Solutions are providing for his cattle. We are really pleased to be associated with the Dingle Dexter Beef Company”.
Steve has now built up a herd of 50 cattle and the Dingle Dexter Beef Company supplies meat to premium restaurants such as the Killarney Park Hotel. The company also runs a bespoke organic burger van that sells freshly cooked Dexter meat at various locations in the area.