Commercial beef unit sought to take part in feed project

The Beef Feed Efficiency Programme is looking for a commercial beef unit to take part in its the industry-leading project.

The four-year programme is being funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with the purpose of demonstrating how feed efficiency traits can be measured and selected in beef cattle. It will highlight how the most efficient cattle will eat less than others, but still grow at the same rate.

Boosting on-farm uptake of superior genetics is a key theme in AHDB Beef & Lamb’s 2017-2020 strategy, which has been created to set out the priorities of the levy board over the coming years.

“The ability to select cattle which eat less than the breed average to achieve the same rate of daily liveweight gain provides significant opportunities to cut the cost of production across the industry,” commented Natalie Cormack, Beef Feed Efficiency Programme manager.

As part of the scheme, a selection of suckler-bred and dairy-cross beef cattle will be brought onto the farm for around three months at a time. The animals will be housed together, fed a defined ration and weighed regularly.

The chosen farm must have a good handling system, be able to feed a total mixed ration and have the capabilities of installing specific feeding equipment to allow the recording of individual cattle feed intake. The intake recording equipment will be provided. The project will contribute towards feed and bedding costs and offer a management fee to cover all other aspects for the successful delivery of the project.

“The unit manager must be able to demonstrate high management standards as they will be required to coordinate transport, meet project deadlines, keep accurate records and purchase cattle required for measurement,” added Cormack.

“We will be promoting the project through on-farm events, so someone who is a good communicator, who is willing to spend time showing visitors around the unit and promoting the project is essential.”

Potential farms are required to be located in England – north of the M5 – or in Wales.

More information and an application can be obtained at beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/research.

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