Con­ti­nen­tal bull sys­tem shows high­est re­turns

Irish Independent - Farming - - BEEF -

FIN­ISH­ING qual­ity con­ti­nen­tal bulls for beef at 16 months was the most prof­itable sys­tem at Kil­dal­ton Col­lege in the 201617 sea­son.

Beef tech­ni­cian John O’Con­nor, who runs the beef unit at the col­lege, out­lined four sys­tems used dur­ing the sea­son.

Con­ti­nen­tal bull beef slaugh­tered at 16 months gave the high­est re­turn, show­ing a net mar­gin of €362/hd for an­i­mals which were slaugh­tered in May at an av­er­age of €4.40kg for 435kg car­case with 91pc U grade and 9pc E grade.

Mr O’Con­nor stressed with bull beef it is very im­por­tant to watch the weight to avoid be­ing cut for be­ing over tar­get weight.

He added: “Fail­ing to achieve the right fat store could land you in a lot of trou­ble on re­turns.

“You have to know what you are do­ing and you have to be able to take ad­vice to en­sure that the re­quire­ments are met. Make sure that you don’t put too much into an­i­mals that won’t meet one spec and are over­done for an­other spec.”

The least prof­itable sys­tem was 24-month suck­ler fin­ish­ing steers, which left a mar­gin of €23hd for the spring-fin­ished an­i­mals slaugh­tered at an av- er­age car­case weight of 397kg and sold for €4.12/kg, with 16pc clas­si­fied as E grade, 68pc U grade and 16pc R grade.

Wean­lings were pur­chased in Septem­ber 2015 at 260kg and fin­ished in Fe­bru­ary 2017 at live weight of 671kg. Each an­i­mal re­ceived 8 tonnes silage over two win­ters and were fed 0.9t of con­cen­trates to fin­ish­ing.

24-MONTH CALF TO BEEF

The sys­tem which showed the sec­ond high­est re­turn at €161/ hd was 24-month calf to beef for Fe­bru­ary fin­ish­ing, with 34pc grad­ing O and 66pc grad­ing P at slaugh­ter.

The pur­chase cost of calves was put at €220/hd with 8.2t of silage and 0.9t of con­cen­trates fed. The an­i­mals were slaugh­tered at 656kg liveweight and a car­case weight of 326kg at an av­er­age price of €3.60/kg.

The sec­ond low­est re­turn was for 20-month heifer beef for au­tumn fin­ish­ing, which left a mar­gin of €53hd, with 30pc U grade and the re­main­der R grade.

The wean­lings were costed in at €750 for 300kg and slaugh­tered at 576kg, giv­ing a car­case weight of 323kg. They were fed 4.5 t of silage and 0.6t of con­cen­trate. Min­i­mal amounts for fixed costs were in­cluded in the cal­cu­la­tions for each sys­tem.

Some farm­ers may be able to re­duce the cost of some of the in­puts such as straw, vet­eri­nary bills and trans­port, which had been fac­tored in at the av­er­age for pro­duc­ers, said Mr O’Con­nor.

“Po­ten­tially this is the pack­age of cost­ings that you can be com­ing up against if you en­gage in the sys­tem. Look at what your ac­tual costs are and see can you trim 15pc off be­cause you are not buy­ing in straw; be­cause you are not buy­ing in the an­i­mals; or you are ca­pa­ble of re­duc­ing other costs to the bone.”

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