Know How / Beef / Feed and nutrition

Providing the best feed and nutrition for the beef herd is crucial if growth rate targets are to be hit. Keep up-to-date with latest developments in grazing management, silage-making and ration formulation for the best results.

AHDB resource

Download the feed budget planner spreadsheet

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Case studies

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On-farm project shows cost benefits of home-rearing bull beef

Home-rearing bull beef on ad-lib concentrates and straw has worked out marginally cheaper for a Welsh suckler enterprise than outsourcing the job to a finishing unit. The Griffith family run…


How outwintering cut suckler farm costs to 243p/kg

Outwintering youngstock and stores has been the final piece in the profitability jigsaw for a first-generation Scottish tenant farmer. Former Farmer Focus writer Giles Henry, of Oakwood Mill, Selkirk, has…


Organic mob grazing system cuts £380/livestock unit on estate

A Scottish livestock operation has removed £200,000 of costs in an ambitious system rethink based on outwintering, forage finishing and soil health.  The Balcaskie Estate in Fife has adopted organic,…


Farmers Weekly Awards: Grassland Manager finalists 2020

Excellent grass growth and use is a common theme across all three finalists, who are each running very profitable businesses by making the most from grass and quality forage.  See…


How a suckler farmer is achieving six-week calving

Good nutritional management, a high bull-to-cow ratio and attention to detail is enabling a Pembrokeshire suckler beef enterprise to halve its calving period from 12 weeks to six and calve…


How beef processor Pickstock improved output by £560/ha

Beef processor Pickstock Telford has lifted output by £560/ha/year since switching to rotational grazing. The processor finishes 700 dairy-bred beef calves annually at its state-of-the-art beef finishing facility, Brongain Farm…

Practical advice

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5 key ways to optimise maize feeding

Harvesting, clamping and feeding maize correctly can improve winter nutrition and reduce potential health hazards Animal feed expert, Prof Mike Wilkinson of University of Nottingham, offers advice on how to…


Alternative feeds for beef cattle and what to consider

Alternative feeds, or co-products, are usually derived as a by-product from food or drink manufacturing, and can offer a relatively cheap source of nutrients. But quality can vary widely, and…


How to prevent and treat scours in calves

While disease can be a trigger for calf scours, so can early calf nutrition, with the concentration of milk replacer having a direct effect on gastrointestinal environment. Osmolality is a…


6 feed strategies to mitigate heat stress in cattle

Heat stress can have a huge impact on cow health and milk production by reducing feed intake and rumination. Heat stress is caused not only by temperature, but humidity, and…


The benefits of growing and feeding lucerne to dairy cows

Lucerne is a popular crop across the continent but remains an almost untapped protein resource in the UK. However, it has huge potential in dairy diets to help displace imported…


Finishing cattle: A guide to health planning and quarantine

A farm-specific health plan should be in place in any cattle-finishing enterprise to help achieve good output and profitability. This is according to veterinary surgeon Leanne Forde of Bishopton Vets,…


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Scientists developing EBV for lower methane emission

Farmers could be selecting cattle bred to produce lower methane emissions in the near future, according to a leading scientist. Methane is an important greenhouse gas, with 28-times the potential…


Rain puts pressure on maize with tricky harvest

Prolonged rain has made maize harvesting difficult in recent days, with some suffering with flooding and high rainfall. Maize maturity has already been slowed by rain as green plants have…


How to profit from forage-based dairy-beef system

Forage-based dairy-beef systems are profitable even in extreme weather conditions, a two-year study at Harper Adams University has concluded. The project investigated whether it was feasible to finish dairy-bred beef…


How feeding wholecrop to dairy-beef steers can cut costs

Diets made up mainly of wholecrop wheat can offer a suitable alternative to bought-in cereals for finishing cattle, a recent study has found. Research at Harper Adams University found that…


Trial shows high iodine cow diet can hinder colostrum uptake

A survey of iodine supplementation in beef herds has revealed that over supplementation pre-calving can negatively affect calves’ ability to absorb colostrum. A collaborative research project between Moredun Research Institute,…


Cattle bounce back after poor fodder beet growth rates

A project at Harper Adams is investigating if it is feasible to finish dairy-bred beef calves on forage alone.  The project, led by Adas and funded by AHDB Beef &…


What are the benefits of milk replacer for calf rearers?

More than half of all dairy and beef farmers in Great Britain now rear their youngstock on calf milk replacer (CMR) instead of whole milk, with potential disease risks a…


High-protein diet worth £56 a head to heifer margin

A trial comparing two levels of protein (160g of crude protein/kg DM or 125g crude protein/kg DM) in maize silage-based finisher rations showed the higher protein diet to be worth…