Beef finishers recognise that in order to maximise animal performance during the finishing period, animals need to adapt to their new environment and diets as quickly as possible.
Cattle that are being housed in sheds for finishing are subject to several stress factors such as weaning, mixing with new groups, new surroundings as well as changes in their diet.
If these factors are not managed correctly animals will not reach their full potential, resulting in a longer finishing period and higher feed costs.
Greater emphasis needs to be placed on nutrition and management during this arrival period in order to improve performance thereby, reducing the number of days animals have to spend on your farm.
How can nutrition improve performance?
Nutritional management on arrival is an important factor in maintaining animal health.
Beef finishers should consult with their nutritionist and put a nutritional programme in place which is tailored specifically to new cattle arriving on the farm.
Each beef farm is different but it can generally take between 20-30 days before animals are on a full finishing diet.
How can management affect performance?
Stress must be kept to a minimum. Purchased animals should be kept separate to the main group until they have settled into their new surroundings.
Management suggestions for beef finishers to aid performance:
- Animal comfort
- Group size
- Resting and feeding space
- Fresh clean water
- A good vaccination and animal health programme is all essential
Not all of the above suggestions are practical on some farms therefore, it is critical for you to speak with your nutritionist and veterinarian in order to devise a plan that fits with your system.
Working to this plan means your cattle will more likely be in better health, adapt to their new diet sooner and subsequently, build up to the final finishing diet quicker.
As a result cattle should reach target weights faster, saving you several working days feeding, let alone the additional feed costs.
The technical team at Alltech can offer nutritional support and advice on your diet as well as any issues you may be experiencing. Find out more by contacting Alltech.
By Richard Dudgeon, beef specialist, Alltech Ireland.