Beef heifers from the dairy herd make the grade

After a 59-day finishing period 50 dairy origin beef heifers from the Gene Ireland Progeny test centre at Tully, Co. Kildare achieved an average carcass weight of 301kg at slaughter – aged 19-21 months.

Overall, the animals graded extremely well with 30 of the heifers making the R-grade. 16 heifers fell into the O-grade category and four heifers received a U-grade.

The average kill-out for the group was 51%, with kill-outs ranging from 47% to 54%. The mean initial and final live weight of the group was 492kg and 590kg, respectively.

The February and March 2017 born heifers were sired by 16 different sires across four different breeds, which were: Aberdeen Angus; Hereford; Shorthorn; and Limousin.

The heifers achieved an average daily gain (ADG) – during the finishing period – of 1.68kg/day and ranged from 1.14-2.34kg/day.

The average daily dry matter intake (DMI) reported for the heifers was 12.2kg/head, ranging from 9.7-15.1kg/head.

Therefore, on average, it took 6.63kg (DM) of feed to produce 1kg of live weight. This measure of feed efficiency ranged from 5.1kg to 10.5kg for the group.

During the finishing period, all heifers were fed a total mixed ration (TMR) consisting of hay and concentrates, with water added to the mix.

Overall, the heifers performed exceptionally well for their age and gained 0.86kg of carcass for each day they were on test at the Tully test centre.

In conclusion, this data shows that – in a finishing system – there is large variation in the performance of beef heifers from the dairy herd.