21 February 1997

Heifers miss target

BETTER management will be needed to ensure most heifers finished this year and next fall within target classifications.

According to the MLC Beef Yearbook, only 33% of heifers finished fell into the target sector of E,U or R for conformation and 4L or leaner. More than a third (34.9%) of heifers were lean but of poor conformation, 13.4% were too fat and of poor conformation, and 18.7% of heifers were overfat.

Chris Brown, MLC beef strategy manager, says the increasing proportion of heifers likely to be finished next year – as a result of the calf slaughter scheme – means producers should monitor finishing heifer performance carefully.

Most heifers are not suited to intensive finishing systems, he warns, and can become overfat at weights which are too light. "A more extensive system, finishing at 18 months or older, is better." &#42