Finishers still have time to recover lost ground on bulls
We are at the critical stage of finishing for under-16-month, spring 2017-born bulls as they enter their last 120/140 days before slaughter.
If weight gains have been sub-par up to this stage due to poor quality forage, disease or virus outbreaks, there is still time to recover some of the ground lost.
Those who are most efficient at finishing bulls at under 16 months are getting their Continental bulls to 680-700kg, which translates to roughly a 400kg carcass.
Those finishing dairy-bred animals are achieving between 560-580kg, equating to a 270-280kg carcass.
In order for the Continental-type cattle to reach this target weight with four months left, I would set a target of live weight gain of 1.8-2kg per day, provided they are currently at 450-460kg.
With the dairy-cross animals, a realistic target would be 1.4kg per day, assuming they are currently between 390-400kg.
Two critical issues that I hear time and again that dissuade farmers from trying to finish for the under-16-month-old bull market is a fear of the animals not having a heavy enough carcass and secondly, of failing to have a sufficient fat score.
The obvious incentive for having the animal heavier is that there are more kilos to sell and with regard to fat cover, provided the animals exceed a fat score of 2+, they can also get on the QPS Grid for bonus payments.