Farmer Focus: New breeding bulls busy after turnout

The spell of good weather in May has seen all cattle turned out to the fields and first-cut silage ensiled.

Silage should be of good quality and ideal for our young bull and finishing enterprise.

Breeding has now commenced with the addition of two new breeding bulls, an Aberdeen Angus for heifers and a Hereford.

The Angus is young and is being used on a batch of 16 heifers. Our other 16 heifers will receive a CIDR-Synch service programme.

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The choice of AI genetics will allow us to select semen from sires that have proven maternal traits, which will hopefully benefit our herd in the future.

The decision to purchase a second Hereford bull was based on calf performance from our current Hereford bull.

The male and female calves both display excellent conformation and growth rates, as well as being lively at birth and calving without major hassle.

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Feedback from the Co-operative and Dunbia, which we supply, is all positive in relation to the Hereford brand and everything appears to indicate a bright future for the breed.

We continue to kill our dairy-bred bulls, with about 70 dead so far. The majority of these have been Friesian bred and would be averaging about 270kg deadweight at 14 months.

There have only been three P grades from what has been killed to date. The Angus, Hereford and Limousin cross Friesian calves are getting to weights of about 300kg, with mostly top-end O grades and a handful of Rs.

Calf performance from arrival on farm has been very good and we have purchased more calves for the land this year.

Hopefully, with the price of beef now slowly going in the right direction, there will be a strong future in calf-to-beef schemes.

Matthew Brownlee farms 121ha alongside his father. They run 100 Limousin cross suckler cows and buy in store cattle to finish.