Welsh Government

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Demonstration Site Project

Finishing Beef Off Grass by 18 Months of Age

 

Project aims:

  • Produce finished cattle by the age of 18 months off forage alone on an organic suckler cow farm through improved grass management and regular monitoring of endoparasites.

Strategic objectives:

  • Improve grass utilisation, growth and quality through rotational grazing.
  • Target stocking rate is set at 2000kgLW/ha
  • DLWG target of <1kg during grazing period from March to October

Project in practice:

  • Spring calved calves will be weighed at housing and fed the best quality silage available through winter and weighed every four weeks to monitor performance.
  • A 5.3ha will be subdivided into paddocks using permanent and temporary electric fencing to graze steers form turnout in March at 12 months of age through to October, when they will be ready for market as fat cattle.
  • Predicted dry matter intakes will be calculated and grass will be measured weekly to manage the grazing rotation and feed budget. Regular laboratory analysis will monitor grass quality throughout the season.
  • Cattle will be weighed each time they finish a rotation to monitor daily liveweight gain.

Project update:

  • Electric fence infrastructure has been installed. Combination of permanent and semi-permanent fences allows the 5.3ha block to be divided into 17 cells.
  • Calves performance monitored throughout winter in order to achieve target turnout weight of 400kg +
  • 8 steers which will not hit target turnout weight will be turned out early to set the rotation.
  • 18 steers which have hit target turnout weight will then join them as they start the second rotation, with stocking rate at 2000kgLW/ha