19 July 2002

Market premium important when aiming for profitability

By Marianne Curtis

SECURING a market premium can be just as important as high performance and carcass characteristics to profitability of beef enterprises, according to a recent study.

In the study, conducted at ADAS Rosemaund, Charolais sired progeny were compared with steers and heifers sired by Aberdeen Angus in an 18-month forage-based finishing system.

Charolais steer and heifer carcasses were 20kg and 18kg heavier, respectively, than Aberdeen Anguses. But price/kg deadweight was 20p greater for Angus steers and 14p greater for heifers than Charolais, according to ADAS researcher Lindsay Heasman.

"Gross margins were £19/head higher for Aberdeen Angus-sired steers than for Charolais-sired stock and £1/head more for the Angus heifers. This shows it is important to think about markets for stock as well as performance, particularly when bonuses are available for a certain breed."

Research at ADAS Rosemaund also compared performance of progeny from Belgian Blue cross Holstein dams and Simmental dams. "Steer carcasses from Belgian Blue cross Holstein dams were 12kg heavier and killed out 1.2% better than those from Simmental dams. This increased gross margin for these animals by £23/head.

"Belgian Blue cross Holstein cows had no more calving difficulties than Simmentals and ate a similar amount. However, both Simmental and Belgian Blue cross Holsteins with a Charolais-sired calf, compared with an Angus-sired calf, ate more during lactation." &#42

Suckler cow type can influence finished weight and killing out %.

&#8226 Premiums for breed.

&#8226 Consider killing out%.

&#8226 Suckler feed requirements differ.