Beef producers told to adapt to contract changes

Trident Feeds is telling beef producers they ought to be reviewing the value of by-pass protein in young stock diets in an effort to maximise carcase returns.

This comes after changes to some beef contracts and specification requirements.Were being made aware of producers incurring substantially larger penalties for heavier carcases and those not meeting specification, said Bethany May, ruminant nutritionist at Trident Feeds.

For this reason, maximising early lean growth where possible should be at the forefront of all producers minds and is a key component of finishing earlier, improving quality of finish and saving on feed costs. And with poor market prices, its imperative that farmers get their animals finished quicker, while maximising feed efficiency to reduce total feed costs.

According to May, it is important for producers to use feed quality protein feeds that are high in by-pass protein during the first five months of growth. This boosts digestible undegraded protein (DUP) without increasing overall protein levels.

As an animal ages, its feed conversion rates become less efficient. Up to six months of age, feed is converted into growth most efficiently, which is why its so important to feed high-quality protein as soon as possible, added May.

Missing out on 10% of early liveweight gain could cost you 165kg of extra feed to get this weight back later.

May claimed that for this reason, using British wheat distillers feed, rapeseed meal or soyabean meal rather than low-cost sources such as urea, will help maximise early lean muscle growth without putting pressure on the liver. This means that most lean frame growth can be accomplished by the time it comes to providing energy to lay down fat at finishing.

In some instances, better value DUP feeds like SoyPass (rumen-protected soyabean meal) and ProtoTec (heat-treated rapemeal) can also be worthwhile, particularly with black and white bulls or late maturing breeds, which would normally continue growing their frame into the finishing period.

She recognised that feed costs would initially be higher, but this will be outweighed by taking advantage of improved feed conversion efficiency and better-quality finish, subsequently reducing the likelihood of penalties for missing specification, reducing finishing times and, overall, reduced feeding costs.

Its vital that farmers consider the role that early life nutrition has to play in producing livestock that meets the needs of the marketplace, otherwise they could be in a position where theyre being penalised, May concluded.

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