4 December 1998

Beef producers feeding cattle too well early on

By Emma Penny

BEEF producers are failing to feed their cattle as economically as possible, with over-feeding and under-costing of silage being main concerns.

Those are the findings to emerge from the FW/Signet beef cost clinic at Smithfield, said consultant Geoff Fish.

"Most people have an idea how they are doing – and most know theyre not making much money. However, few know where they are falling down on costs."

Mr Fish said that producers visiting the clinic were losing most cash on feed costs.

"In many cases, cattle are being kept for longer on-farm, with many claiming a second BSP payment. But too many are still feeding those cattle too well early on. Thats producing a super quality store, but is pushing costs up significantly. Planning to keep cattle for longer and rationing accordingly will help cut costs," he said.

Silage costs proved to be another area for concern. "Theres a tendency to think that because silage is produced using your own machinery its low cost, but its not. Consider whether lower cost by-products could be used instead of silage or whether it might be better to use contractors." &#42