Sexed Stabiliser Semen Offers Chance to Improve Suckler Herds
Asda/ABP BeefLink farmers wanting to maximise the productivity of their suckler herds can now take advantage of a significant price reduction on sexed Stabiliser semen from leading bull Givendale Norseman.
The release of Stabiliser sexed semen from Givendale Norseman, a sire with a beef value of +37, a maternal production value of +29 and a calving value of +7, all at the very top end of the breed, is the result of the marketing agreement between semen supplier Cogent and the Stabiliser Cattle Company.
Givendale Norseman sexed semen is currently priced at £35/straw, but, thanks to the subsidy offered BeefLink farmers will be able to purchase it for just £20/straw, a significant saving over the standard price, explains Asda agricultural manager Pearce Hughes.
"Using Stabiliser genetics offers BeefLink farmers the opportunity to develop highly productive suckler herds or medium sized, fertile cows. Experience from BeefLink farmers already running Stabiliser herds is that herd productivity can be increased by up to 30% when Stabilisers replace conventional suckler cow types.
"Stabiliser cattle have the potential to significantly improve suckler cow productivity across the UK and have been shown to improve output per hectare by 30% and cut feed use by 25% on UK farms."
And using sexed semen offers an even better route to increased profitability, he adds. "Using female sexed semen will allow BeefLink farmers to increase the rate of change in their herds by guaranteeing heifer calves.
"This will greatly speed up the rate of genetic gain in herds, by allowing targeted replacement breeding from better cows and by using semen from Norseman, a top ranking Stabiliser bull."
Mr Pearce says the use of composite breeds such as the Stabiliser is the best way to maximise productivity and is common place in both the pig and poultry sectors. "Historically the beef sector has relied on hybrid vigour to deliver productivity improvements. But this has led to suckler herds often being of very mixed type and this impacts on the consistency of the carcasses produced.
"Using a composite breed such as the Stabiliser to produce heifer replacements helps standardise the herd and in-turn improves consistency in the end product. Hybrid vigour can still be exploited by breeding the poorer cows in the herd to another beef breed to produce prime cattle," he explains.
"Stabilisers are extremely fertile, efficient cattle which have exceptional growth rates and unparalleled feed efficiency off low cost forage based diets. As the UK beef industry faces up to higher feed costs coupled with potential reductions in subsidies the Stabiliser offers a route to profitable, sustainable beef production," he adds.
"Using Stabiliser genetics could save the industry millions of
pounds a year in feed costs due to improved feed efficiency and less
reliance on concentrates. This in turn will lead to significant carbon
savings for the beef supply chain and it is already well recognised
that reductions in carbon emissions in agriculture go hand in hand
with improved margins."
Cogent beef breeding sales manager Gareth Scott says the development of Stabiliser suckler herds in the UK offers a lot to the industry. "Stabilisers have been developed in the USA for many years based on breeding for calving ease, fertility, growth and feed efficiency.
"They are adaptable and versatile suckler cows that can either be bred pure or crossed with a wide variety of terminal sires to produce exceptional calves with great early vigour and growth."
And Asda/ABP BeefLink farmers breeding purebred Stabiliser herds can do so safe in the knowledge that their progeny will have a ready outlet, adds Mr Hughes. "We accept finished bulls up to 16 months old and up to 450kg carcass weight, so there is a market ready and waiting for all progeny.
"Those farmers not wanting to finish the cattle themselves have the option to send them to the Asda /ABP BeefLink progeny testing/finishing unit at Adam Quinney's Worcestershire farm. The added benefit of this system is that they will also receive the feed efficiency data back so that they can identify their superior sires. On top of that a 10p/kg premium is being paid for Stabiliser sired cattle finished through the progeny testing unit," explains Mr Hughes