January 8, 2013 Bull calf finishing results by individual sire from the 2001 calf crop

Farmers Weekly/Harper Adams Beef Focus Farm
Simon Frost, Hopping Farm, Youlgreave, Derbyshire

Spring 2011 born bull calves from high Terminal Index Charolais bulls from Limousin x Holstein-Friesian cows. The calves were weaned in October and intensively finished on 16% CP home mix and good quality big bale silage.

Sire

Altra

Clifford

Duke

Calf birth wt (kg)

44.2

48.4

46.5

Calving Ease (1-5)

1.4

2.2

1.5

Weaning wt (kg)

331

336

345

Weaning age (days)

207

198

203

DLWG (birth – wean)

1.41

1.47

1.50

Slaughter wt (kg)

766

782

760

Carcase weight (kg)

458

467

455

Conformation score (1-5)

4.44

4.33

4.22

Fat score (1-7)

3.50

3.37

3.33

Slaughter age (months)

14.5 (442 days)

14.5 (442 days)

14.1 (430 days)

DLWG birth – slaughter (kg)

1.64

1.67

1.67

DCG from birth (kg)

0.99

1.00

1

* Calving Ease Score 1 = unassisted to 5 = caesarian
Charolais sire EBVs and Terminal Index compared to the breed average
Shown below are the EBVs and Terminal Indexes for Littlebovey Altra, Balthayock Clifford and Swalesmoor Duke compared the breed average for 2010 born calves.

Sire

Altra

Clifford

Duke

Breed Avg

Calving Ease Direct (%)

+2.1

-2.7

+1.9

-0.9

Birth wt (kg)

+2.3

+3.4

+2.4

+2.6

200 day wt (kg)

+30

+36

+34

+25

400 day wt (kg)

+45

+56

+51

+40

600 day wt (kg)

+51

+67

+60

+46

Eye Muscle Area (sq cm)

N/A

+5.8

+5.4

+2.9

Fat Depth (mm)

N/A

-0.9

-0.3

-0.2

Retail Beef Yield (%)

N/A

+2.9

+2.1

+1.0

Terminal Index

+47

+59

+54

+34

Comments:
· The calving ease scores and birth weight results mirror the EBVs for the bulls with Clifford who has a negative Calving Ease Direct and heaviest birth weight EBVs resulting in the highest incidence of calving difficulty and the heaviest calf birth weights.

· The carcase weights also mirror the bulls EBVs with Clifford who has the highest 400 day weight EBV recording the heaviest carcase weight. This will also be influenced by Clifford having the lowest Fat Depth EBV allowing his bull calves to achieve heavy carcasses at similar/lower fat scores to the other 2 bulls.

· Daily carcase gain from birth to slaughter was similar for the 3 bulls.

· The bull calves from Altra recorded the highest overall carcase conformation score with 44% E and 56% U grades. Unfortunately there is not an EBV for Eye Muscle Area for Altra.

· This evaluation confirms again that EBVs work – have faith in them!

Simon Marsh, Senior Lecturer – Beef Cattle Specialist, Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB
Farmers Weekly/Harper Adams Beef Focus Farm
Simon Frost, Hopping Farm, Youlgreave, Derbyshire 

Bull calf finishing results from the 2011 calf crop

Spring 2011 born bull calves from high (top 1-5%) Terminal Index ‘curve bender’ Charolais bulls from Limousin x Holstein-Friesian cows. The calves were weaned in October and intensively finished by Alan and John Dore at Glapwell, Chesterfield on 16% CP home mix and good quality big bale silage.

EBLEX Targets

S Frost Bulls

Slaughter age (months)

14.0

14.4 (440 days)

Slaughter wt (kg)

590

773

DLWG birth – slaughter (kg)

1.28

1.66

Kill out %

59.0

59.9

Carcase weight (kg)

348

462

DCG from birth (kg)

0.77

1.00

Conformation class

U+/-U

38% E, 58% U, 4% R

Fat class

3

4% @ 2, 52% @ 3, 44% @ 4L

Concentrates (kg/bull)

1,500

1,662 + 681kg DM silage

FCR (kg feed DM/kg gain)

5.3:1

4.9:1

Comments:
· Overall performance was excellent achieving an average carcase weight of 462kg with a daily carcase gain (dcg) of 1.00kg from birth to slaughter. This calculation deducts 24kg from the carcase weight to account for the birth carcase weight.

· The 2009 calf crop recorded a dcg from birth to slaughter of 0.94kg with a 438kg carcase. The 2010 born calves achieved a dcg of 0.97kg which was surpassed by the 2011 calves with a dcg of 1.00kg. Achieving 1.00kg dcg from birth to slaughter has been a long term target for Simon Frost. The next target is 1.02kg. The question is ‘how high can we go’?

· Simon has hosted several groups of visiting farmers this last year and some commented to both Simon and myself on seeing the finishing bulls that there were ‘too many R grades’. You will note from the above table that only 4% graded R, the rest grading E’s and U’s. I suspect these comments were made by finishers with what Simon Frost would describe as ‘inny-outy’ cattle that are relatively weak on the loin and shoulders in relation to the back-end that can occur with some other continental breeds.

· Heifer finishing results for the 2011 calf crop are shown on the following page. The heifers are finished on significantly lower levels of home mix.

Heifer calf finishing results

S Frost Heifers

Slaughter age (mo)

14.8 (450 days)

Slaughter wt (kg)

550

DLWG birth – slaughter (kg)

1.14

Kill out %

56.0

Carcase weight (kg)

308

DCG from birth (kg)

0.64

Conformation class

4% E, 60% U, 34% R, 2% O+

Fat class

38% @ 3, 58% @ 4L, 4% @ 4H

Concs (kg/head)

789 + 1,038kg DM silage

FCR (kg feed DM/kg gain)

6.5:1

Comments:
· The UK average heifer carcase weight in 2011 was 310kg @ 690 days old. Simon’s heifers finished 7.8 months younger than the UK average at similar carcase weights.
· Note that only 4% of Simon Frosts finished at fat class 4H, with 64% at E and U grades.

Simon Marsh, Senior Lecturer – Beef Cattle Specialist, Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB

Categories: Charolais Features, News

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