15 August 1997

Creep before sale for higher prices

SUCKLED calf producers are urged to offer creep six to eight weeks pre-sale to ensure higher prices through improved liveweights and better appearance.

"Every 2kg of creep eaten increases liveweight gains by 0.5kg/day," says Gethin Havard chairman of the Brecon and Radnor suckled calf rearers. When introduced six to eight weeks pre-sale creep feed, therefore, generates 20-30kg more liveweight.

Mr Havard also suggests that trimming the coat, ensuring calves are disbudded and selling in even batches also adds value.

Last year at Knighton market batches of six achieved average prices £45 above those sold singly, he says.

Signet consultant Ian Ross adds that ensuring buyers can draw on all available premiums and subsidies will also maximise price per kilo that will be bid.

"Spring prices of 95p/kg at 545kg achieved from 5.5t silage and 400kg concentrates, mean buyers will have to pay under 90p/kg to produce a £50/head margin.

"But where beef special premium scheme and extensification payments totalling £114.27/head are attainable purchasers could afford 120p/kg," says Mr Ross.