Improving calf quality key to better profits
LAST years financial results from 60-70 spring calving suckler herds in Northern Ireland show an average margin of £105.
But the range varied from £100 in the red to £220 in the black. The difference between the two herds is a 40p/kg difference in sale price, reflecting calf quality, said Greenmount-based beef business consultant James OBoyle.
Herds not achieving higher calf prices should look to improve calf quality by using semen from bulls in the top 5% of their breed on performance figures and only purchase bulls in the top 20%.
But most producers struggle to produce cattle for less than 90p/kg liveweight gain including variable and overhead costs, said Mr OBoyle.
"Last years cattle price was 90p/kg, so the profit is the subsidy, and producers should aim not to eat into this at all." He reckons improving calf quality is the key to better profits. *