16 August 2002

Specialist concentrate outclassed

BEEF cattle reared on a simple home-mix generated a gross margin of £70 a head more than those on a specialist finishing concentrate, according to recent research.

ADAS Wales nutritionist Ken Stebbings says that for the study at Tir Newydd, Guilsfield, north Powys, he formulated a simple wheat and barley-based ration for finishing beef bulls. It contained 65% cereals, 20% sugar beet pulp, 12.5% protein and 2.5% minerals and vitamins at a cost of £106/t. The specialist concentrate cost £119/t.

The comparison was part of the EU funded/ADAS managed Quality Beef Production in Wales initiative. Bulls were all Charolais-sired and out of Hereford/Friesian suckler cows.

Results show that bulls on the simple mix produced 379kg carcasses worth £327 each. The other group produced 376kg carcasses worth £321 each. But variable costs of those on the specialist feed were £64 a head higher.

Bulls on the purchased feed gained 1.6kg a head a day during the finishing period and it cost 93p/kg of weight gained to feed them. Those on the home-mix put on 1.7kg a day at a cost of 69p/kg gained. &#42

Quality beef results

Simple Finisher

mix concentrate

Finishing period 170 177

Carcass wt (kg) 379 376

Killing out % 57.9 57.4

Carcass value (£) 327 321

Gross margin (£) 110 40

Quality beef results

Simple Finisher

mix conc

Finishing (days) 170 177

Carcass wt (kg) 379 376

Killing out % 57.9 57.4

Carcass value (£) 327 321

Gross margin (£) 110 40