Where producers go?

23 January 1998

Where producers go?

MANY changes face beef breeders if they are to have a future, said breeder and commercial producer Donald Biggar at the British Cattle Breeders Conference.

He added that some changes which were needed were political and administrative, which producers needed to try to influence decision makers about, but had no control over. But the changes producers had control over were breeding and marketing.

His 360-cow suckler herd is mainly Beef Shorthorn and Galloway crossbreds, with three pedigree herds – Beef Shorthorn, Polled Herefords and Galloway – to produce replacements, while he uses the Charolais as a terminal sire.

Breeding needed to focus on an efficient cow as the cost of maintenance was the most important factor in determining profit, he said.

"Changing a terminal sire is easy, but changing a herd of cows takes longer and is more expensive. But the cost of maintaining the beef cow herd is the most important factor affecting profit.

"Too little attention is paid to cow selection. There is too much dairy influence and Continental cows have a high maintenance requirement. Smaller, longer lasting cows are needed as the cull price will remain low even after the OTMS has ended."

Too little attention is paid to cow selection – Donald Biggar.

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