5 April 1996

Feeding slow-down

SIGNET beef consultant Brian Taylor anticipates it will take two to four weeks for the beef market to pick up once actions are taken to restore consumer confidence.

As such, he advises producers slow down the feeding of cattle that are ready to sell now.

That can be achieved by replacing half of the silage fed with straw to reduce growth rates to under 0.5kg a day.

Concentrates should be kept at the same level however. "There is no point in reducing the protein level for growth may become uneconomic. When concentrates are cut out animals may lose weight."

Alternatively he suggests feeding by-products to replace silage, and checking local availability of products such as potatoes, and vegetable and biscuit waste.

"Then, as soon as there is a market, cut your losses and sell the cattle. The longer you keep them the longer the wait for the money. There will be little to gain by hanging on."

For younger stock, he advises turning them out now and slow down finishing because the market is likely to be oversupplied and prices low into May.