Teagasc July beef tips: rotate stock and take out the bull

Keep stock rotated regularly around paddocks to ensure that cattle meet the target live weight gain of 1kg/head/day.

Beef price is good at the moment so cattle that are fit for slaughter should be moved. Cattle should be fit and not fat going for slaughter.

Steers and bulls will not get over-fat but heifers tend to get over-fat easily.

If you think your stock are near fit and you are not sure get a neighbour or agent that goes to the factory regularly to look at them.

Farmers finishing cattle should be in touch with their factory agents to check prices and demand. You should also make sure your stock are within the age limits, fat scores and weight restrictions.

Also remember that beef is a highly valuable product in demand at present, so make sure you get price quotes from other plants before selling.

Meal Feeding

Forward beef cattle that are nearly fit (less than 40kg short of slaughter weight) should be fed 4kg of a high energy low protein (10-12% CP) ration per head per day for six weeks before slaughter.

Concentrate feeding will increase beef carcase weight and kill out. Under fleshed cattle will face huge deductions in factories so sell these in the mart instead.

Breeding

Set a date for withdrawing of stock bull that will end the breeding season. If you take him out on the July 15, 2015 you will have no calves born in May next year.

If possible, replacements heifers should be from your own herd, be 420kg at 14 months and bred to an easy-calving bull with a calving difficulty of less than 4%.

Creep Grazing

Creep grazing provides fresh clean pasture for grazing and also helps to break cow/calf link. As grass quality falls off from the end of June, forward calves for sale in September could start to be fed meal.

No animal converts meal into live weight gain better than young calves/weanlings at a rate of 6:1.

Stomach Worms

Spring born calves may need to be treated for stomach worms or lungworms from mid-July.

Listen out for coughing in your calves and if you don’t hear calves coughing don’t rush in with a dose.

You could take a dung sample from your calves and get it checked out for worms to determine if dosing is required.

There are numerous products that will control stomach worms, lungworms and other parasites. Get one that suits your herd by consulting your vet.

By Anthony O’Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Regional Unit.

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