Industry collaboration through the Dairy Beef Acceleration program

Cargill, Nestlé and others join forces to accelerate dairy-beef crossbreeding.

Cargill’s commitment to ensuring a more sustainable future for all means looking for new ways to innovate. We’re also finding like-minded partners that share our ambition to make beef a force for good. The Dairy Beef Accelerator program is a three-year collaboration between Cargill and industry partners, including Nestlé, to research the benefits of cattle crossbreeding.

Maximizing resources for the good of all

When it comes to production efficiency, the North American beef and dairy industry is world leading. It consistently delivers larger volumes of high-quality protein with lower resource inputs than those in other countries. This is due in large part to an innovative process known as “beef on dairy” – where dairy and beef cattle are crossbred to produce hybrid calves with greater feed efficiency, resulting in more beef of higher quality.

Achieving the most from the valuable resources used in beef production is a key part of Cargill’s BeefUp Sustainability initiative. Establishing the Dairy Beef Accelerator program and encouraging others to partner and share knowledge was therefore a key priority. The research program, which will run for three years, will enhance understanding of the process and techniques involved, highlighting the unique opportunities that “beef on dairy’” can unlock globally, and helping producers worldwide adopt these innovative new crossbreeding methods to achieve more by using less.

The learnings so far

Initial research by Texas Tech University indicates several significant findings. First, that hybrid cattle produce more and higher-quality beef products without impacting milk production efficiency, compared to purebred dairy calves. This will bring financial and physical health benefits to farmers and consumers alike.

The second outcome also has positive results for the planet. “Beef on dairy” calves exhibit greater feed efficiency, which lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with feed production, as well as reducing operational impacts. As we all strive to reduce our carbon footprint, it is innovative production shifts like these that will support Cargill’s wider goal to achieve a 30% GHG intensity reduction across its North American beef supply chain by 2030.

The Dairy Beef Accelerator program is proof that, when we work together, we can make even greater strides toward smarter production while achieving our sustainability goals and protecting our planet for the future.