The recent open day at one of the commercial farms chosen to host a data recording unit for the Defra/AHDB funded Beef Feed Efficiency Programme presented a great opportunity to see how Limousin cattle are being used in the important industry research.
This major industry project, which is progressing well, aims to demonstrate how feed efficiency traits can be measured and selected for in beef cattle. It will illustrate how the most efficient cattle will eat less than others but grow at the same rate. Attendees got to see the cattle in the unit up close and were shown some interim results, which already indicate a notable range of feed efficiency between different sire groups. To date, actual feed intake of the more feed efficient cattle has tended to be around 12% lower than that for the less efficient cattle, yet growth rates are similar. Across 100 growing cattle gaining 200kg of liveweight, the resultant feed cost savings would amount to over £2,200.
While the initial focus is on recording Limousin-sired cattle, the aim is to develop a system for recording feed efficiency that can be extended to other beef breeds in the future. This will undoubtedly provide significant opportunities for all beef producers to cut the cost of production.
Limousin sired calves are still required for the programme and can be purchased, or loaned via a retained ownership arrangement, from dairy or beef herds. Please contact Natalie Cormack on 07866 934563 / 01890 781006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suitable cattle up to 8 months of age.