2014-09-22   facebook twitter rss

Researching for Better Beef Returns

Just how can we continue in beef production as costs rocket, returns fall and CAP payments shrink?

The key question on the lips of producers at the AFBI, Hillsborough beef event as researchers and advisors attempted to put heart back into a business reeling from returns below production costs.

“A calving interval of more than 365 days is akin to throwing money into the nearest sheugh,” Dr Denise Lowe reminded suckler herd owners at the AFBI Hillsborough briefing.

“A calving interval of more than 365 days is akin to throwing money into the nearest sheugh,” Dr Denise Lowe reminded suckler herd owners at the AFBI Hillsborough briefing.

Only by improving livestock performance can farmers have any influence on margins as income from the market is set by supermarkets and the support from the CAP is decided by politicians in Brussels, London and Belfast.

However, as Dr Denise Lowe of AFBI pointed out only 12% of first calving suckler cows in NI are under 25 months of age. Yet those failing to calve by then are set on the road to poor returns. Including the 50% plus of Ulster suckler cows with a miserable calving interval of 415 days.

“Unless your cows are calving every 365 days then you are wasting your time and money,” Dr Lowe warned. “Yet the information needed to achieve one calf per cow per year is freely available from CAFRE advisors and agrisearch.

Colleague Dr Steven Morrison of AFBI Hillsborough noting that achieving target weights for replacement heifers is fairly easy to achieve. Making use of estimated breeding values in selecting sires and investing in a weighbridge will prove a good investment according to team AFBI.

As regards breeds comparisons between Stabilisers and Limousin Holstein crossbred suckler cows produced few surprises. Differences between the two types of suckler cow were found to be minimal. If selling calves as single sucks then the Limousin Holstein cross produced better returns, but if selling stock as stores or finished there is no real difference.

AFBI

  Related Links
link Improvement Planned for Limousin Breed
link Scottish Judge Does the Honours at NI National Charolais Show
link Pasture Farmers Recognised at Fine Farm Produce Awards
link Wintering Your Livestock
link Beef Cattle


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