The pros and

Irish Independent - Farming - - CALF TO BEEF -

high­lighted a sim­ple demon­stra­tion on the amount of meal re­quired per day to feed Michael’s 140 wean­lings when pro­duc­ing high qual­ity ver­sus low qual­ity silage.

The av­er­age tar­get daily gain for the win­ter with th­ese an­i­mals is 0.6kgs per day.

In or­der to achieve this level of per­for­mance, feed­ing th­ese an­i­mals high qual­ity silage of 72pc DMD would re­quire 1kg per head per day or less than six bags of ra­tion for the group.

In con­trast if poor qual­ity silage of 62pc DMD was used then the re­quire­ment would be 3kgs per head per day, equalling 18 bags of ra­tion per day.

Over a four and a half month win­ter the dif­fer­ence in meal re­quired would be 38 tonnes.

At €250/t, that is an ad­di­tional €9,500 ex­tra feed cost to achieve the same level of per­for­mance from good to poor qual­ity silage.

With a small bit of plan­ning and man­age­ment there is huge gain to be achieved from pro­duc­ing high qual­ity silage on your farm.

The ta­ble be­low shows the av­er­age daily gain achieved with silage alone and the rec­om­mended con­cen­trate feed­ing level at dif­fer­ent silage qual­i­ties. A NUM­BER of win­ter milk pro­duc­ers are cur­rently calv­ing cows and many of th­ese calves will be sold on to beef farm­ers to be reared and slaugh­tered in a calf to beef sys­tem. There are ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages to con­sider when de­cid­ing whether to buy calves at this time of year or not.

CALF AVAIL­ABIL­ITY

With more and more dairy farm­ers mov­ing away from win­ter milk, over 90pc of herds are now calv­ing in the spring time mak­ing au­tumn born calves very dif­fi­cult to source at this time of year. Due to the lack of num­bers it can also be very

Michael Ryan pic­tured with some of the An­gus wean­lings on his farm at Bal­ly­more, Co West­meath

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