Under-finished animals are causing beef farmers to lose up to £51 (€60) per beast, due to poor forage quality, but this could be rectified by increasing the energy content of the diet, says Martin Smith, of Ufac-UK.
“The latest report from Northern Ireland’s Livestock and Meat Commission shows a continuing trend for carcases to be under-finished with a six per cent reduction in steers classified in fat classes 4 and 5 with a six per cent increase in classes 1 and 2,” he commented. Dropping from U3 to U2 potentially reduces carcase value by 6p per kg, or 22p per kg if the beast drops to U1.
Energy levels in forage due to the poor growing season throughout the UK in 2012 have been significantly down and cereals have also suffered from lower bushel weights affecting the energy from starch.
“This report confirms the effect that diet quality is having on carcase grading. But energy levels of the diet can be easily boosted by adding a fat supplement, such as Ufac’s Megajule,” said Martin.
“Assuming a 12 kg dry-matter intake and a 1 MJ/Kg deficit per kg there would be a need to replace 12 MJ. This could be supplied by feeding 600 g (1.25 lb) of the supplement per day for the 50-day finishing period,” said Martin Smith. “At around £16.50 (€20) per animal this is highly cost-effective giving a return on investment of over 3:1.”
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