22 November 1996

Genes mean profit

BEEF producers should aim for herd genetic improvement to ensure profits.

That is according to Genus, which says that progeny from the best bulls is currently achieving margins £50 a head better than progeny from average sires.

Progeny from the best bulls reached slaughter weight 70 days earlier than the slowest-growing group in trials at Warren Farm, Genus Berkshire-based beef testing unit.

The improvement in growth rate alone was worth between 50p and £1 a day, depending on the season and rearing system, says the company.

"Rather than the natural reaction to cut inputs such as breeding costs while beef prices are low, farmers should look to improve carcass value at reduced costs to claw back profit," says Phillip McMenamin, livestock manager at Warren Farm. &#42