26 March 1999

Management expertise way to bull finishing £s

SUCCESSFUL bull finishing means achieving good growth rates using by-products, choosing the right breeding and monitoring performance regularly.

Signet consultant Ian Ross says that Home Park Farm achieves many of these objectives and makes money because of management expertise.

"There is a lot of effort and management put into this system which is why it is profitable.

"Cattle are finished to market requirements and at the other end of the chain Mr Thompson is buying from a known source supplying what he wants.

"This helps control disease. And using performance recorded bulls means he is able to combine growth rate and feed efficiency with easy calving."

Animal performance is regularly monitored, so rations can be changed when required. This is important and weighing needs to be done once a month for those serious about bull beef production, says Mr Ross.

Set growth targets; bulls have to grow to 520kg in 365 days, requiring an average growth rate of 1.3kg a day.

"Mr Thompson has also addressed fixed costs and could only get these lower by expanding throughput to 1000 head a year," says Mr Ross.

"This might need an extra building which could be con-structed for £6 a square foot."

Mr Ross urges producers to know what their costs are and what sale price they need to make a profit.

"Also, keep feed costs down down as much as possible by using cheaper by-products in the diet," he says.