2 August 2002

Extra cake for finish

WITH auctioneers and abattoirs reporting grass fed cattle lacking finish (Business, July 26), producers should consider offering cattle 0.5-1kg of concentrate feed to ensure sufficient finish, believes Promar beef and sheep consultant Ian Ross.

"There is a danger that cattle will start to slow down now as the weather warms and grass growth slows, so care is needed before selling to avoid underfinished cattle."

Many producers arent confident about finishing cattle at grass. However, much of the problem is due to poor grassland management. When the quality of the grass is right, then cattle will finish, despite other problems, explains Hants-based Mr Ross.

"Supplementary feeding will benefit cattle now but, in the long term producers should look to improve sward management and consider increasing the clover content of leys."

The last resort, if cattle still dont finish at grass, is to bring cattle into sheds and finish them inside but, most will take six to eight weeks to finish when housed. However, with the grass growth we have had this summer, many producers will be reluctant to do this." &#42