January 7, 2014 Charolais crosses reap enhanced finisher margins

HAU student placement study

Drew Patrick

Drew Patrick

Charolais sired steers reached 400kgs target deadweight one month earlier than other Continental crosses on a specialist finishing unit and thereby achieved a £54 a head profit margin over all others, according to findings from a large scale study. Furthermore, the trends persisted among the Charolais cross heifers which consistently finished to 365kg target deadweight 12 days faster than the remainder.

Those findings concluded a 12 month placement report by Harper Adams University BSc Hons Ag student, Drew Patrick on James Burnett’s Newark based finishing unit with 6,500 head annual turnover. Of that total, approximately 40% were Charolais crosses.

The study which was designed to investigate how the unit could improve its efficiency, took in 1,000 Continental cattle bought in the store ring throughout England and Wales at an average 450kg liveweight and introduced to a TMR diet including vegetable waste, brewer’s grains, pot ale syrup, forage maize and straw. Average time to finishing was 110 days.

Drew explains: “The Charolais cross steers were ready for slaughter at an average 395kg deadweight, 27 days sooner than any of the other cattle in the shed, demonstrating that they have greater genetic potential to grow faster on the same finishing diet and within the same system, and thereby reduce the number of days to slaughter.

“The one month differential has the potential for huge impact on a large unit like the Burnett’s. In fact, if this unit swapped all its Continental cattle for Charolais crosses, then it could improve profits by over £150,000 per annum, a figure that confirms faster growth rates and accompanying feed efficiency can reduce both variable and fixed costs. In addition, finishing Charolais crosses provides the opportunity to increase cattle turnover and subsequent cash turnover.”






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