Beef cows eating straw© Tim Scrivener

AHDB is seeking to recruit a commercial beef unit to take part in the industry-leading Beef Feed Efficiency Programme.

The four-year Defra and AHDB-funded project aims to demonstrate how feed efficiency traits can be measured and selected for in beef cattle and illustrate how the most efficient cattle will eat less than others but grow at the same rate.

Driving greater on-farm uptake of superior genetics is a key activity in AHDB Beef & Lamb’s 2017-20 strategy which sets out priorities for the organisation over the next three years.

See also: Beef breed launches first ever feed efficiency breeding value

Natalie Cormack, Beef Feed Efficiency Programme manager, said: “The ability to select cattle which eat less than the breed average to achieve the same rate of daily liveweight gain provides significant opportunities to cut the cost of production across the industry.”

A range of suckler-bred and dairy-cross beef cattle will come on to the farm for periods of about three months at a time. During this period they will be group housed, fed a defined ration and weighed regularly.

The farm must have:

  • a good handling system
  • be equipped to feed a total mixed ration
  • be able to install specific feeding equipment to enable the recording of individual cattle feed intake although feed intake recording equipment will be provided 
  • The project will contribute to feed and bedding costs and provide a management fee to cover all other aspects for the successful delivery of the project
  • The unit manager must be able to demonstrate high management standards as they will be required to co-ordinate transport, meet project deadlines, keep accurate records and purchase cattle required for measurement
  •  The project will be promoted through on-farm events, so someone who is a good communicator and willing to spend time showing visitors around the unit is essential 
  • Farms should be located in England (north of the M4) or in Wales.

More information and an application form can be found at in the research section of AHDB Beef & Lamb’s website. Alternatively, contact Natalie Cormack on 07866 934 563 or via email natalie.cormack@ahdb.org.uk

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on 15 July.