Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Answer Is a Fast Feeding Regime; Farming

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Answer Is a Fast Feeding Regime; Farming

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer Mackenzie

LIKE all beef farmers, Michael Strother, of Fowberry Moor, Wooler, needed to find a way of replacing pounds 280 per head of subsidy in his suckler herd following the loss of the Suckler Cow and Beef Special Premiums three years ago.

The adoption of a fast feeding regime to get his bull calves finished at 12 to 13 months of age has gone a long way towards meeting his objective, although he is the first to admit that beef cattle prices need to rise further to restore profitability to beef production.

"You have to know your costs and make the business efficient," he says. "It's not rocket science. The aim must be high performance genetics and a feeding regime which achieves good feed conversion efficiency and fast liveweight gain."

Regular monitoring of performance is seen as vitally important and Mr Strother reckons one of his best investments has been weigh cells on his cattle crush.

"You can see right away if the cattle are performing to target and the feeding regime can be adjusted if necessary to get them back on track," he says.

Bulls and heifers are finished on Harbro's Super Beef Finisher Blend and an example of the high performance being achieved is a batch of 14-month-old Limousin cross bulls slaughtered earlier in the summer to average 340kg deadweight and return an average price per head - after all deductions - of pounds 700.

The heaviest bull weighed 394.4kg and graded E2 to yield the top price of pounds 946.56 at 240p/kg while the youngest one - a three-quarter Limousin - produced a 370.4kg carcase at under 12 months of age, graded U+2 and returned a price of pounds 926 at 250p/kg.

These two carcases, along with two others from the same batch, were selected for a special export order to Greece. "The cattle performed exceptionally well and we were delighted with the outcome," says Mr Strother.

With a total feed cost of pounds 258 from weaning to slaughter, including a charge of pounds 25 for straw but excluding bedding and labour, the cost of feeding from birth to slaughter worked out at only 66p/day and left a margin of pounds 1.24/kg over feed costs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.