9 November 2001

Predicting economies

COMPUTER software which predicts the difference in farm economic performance following a change in beef suckler replacement strategy is now available for use on farms.

Launched at MLC headquarters, the software has been designed following concerns about the reducing quality of suckler cow replacements and shortages of beef x dairy heifers.

"There is an increasing move towards self-replacement in beef herds, to take control of the quality and quantity of heifer replacements," said MLCs Duncan Pullar. Using the software, producers can estimate financial performance from different breeding strategies, over a 20-year period.

Eighteen beef consultants have been trained to use the software and Dr Pullar believes producers re-stocking after foot-and-mouth will be among the first to benefit.

The first version of the programme is admittedly fairly crude, but producer feedback is essential to fine-tune the technology, said Dr Pullar.

In spring, producers will be able to get hold of the software and be trained at an estimated cost of £300. &#42