Of buy­ing au­tumn born calves

Irish Independent - Farming - - CALF TO BEEF -

cons hard to get a batch of calves in a short pe­riod of time to fill a shed.


Depend­ing on the breed and sex of an­i­mal that you want to buy, some au­tumn born calves can fit very well into a sys­tem.

For ex­am­ple, an Oc­to­ber/ Novem­ber born An­gus/ Here­ford heifer calf will be 19/20 months of age at slaugh­ter in May/June when you have the tra­di­tion­ally higher beef price, although you may lose out on sub­stan­tial breed bonuses at this time of year.

If you are pro­duc­ing an un­der 16-month old bull, the an­i­mal will have a long sea­son mak­ing max­i­mum use of grazed grass and they can then be housed in Septem­ber for fin­ish­ing over the win­ter when they would nat­u­rally be in­doors any way.

In con­trast, Friesian steers that un­der-per­form and are not slaugh­tered by 24 months of age end up hav­ing a third win­ter pe­riod putting them a higher cost pro­duc­tion sys­tem.


Many calf to beef pro­duc­ers have sub­stan­tially in­creased the num­bers of calves reared on their farm over the last num­ber of years. In most cases ad­e­quate calf rear­ing fa­cil­i­ties in terms of shed space, labour, feed­ing sta­tions are not avail­able on farm so split­ting the calf rear­ing over an au­tumn and spring pe­riod makes sense to in­creases the num­bers of calves reared.

The down side to this is, you are rear­ing calves for close on six months of the year.


A well reared calf in the au­tumn is well weaned and ready to make max­i­mum use of grazed grass for a long graz­ing sea­son in year one, whereas a late spring reared calf may only be off milk by early July when a lot of the best grass pro­duc­ing months are be­hind us.

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