Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Round one to Angus in Teagasc beef trials

All blacks average carcase value is €57 higher than Charolais

Adam Woods: Teagasc.
Adam Woods: Teagasc.

Darragh Mccullogh

Angus heifers and steers are proving more profitable than their continental counter-parts, according to early data beginning to flow from the Derrypatrick herd at Teagasc's Grange research station.

Even though the Charolais and Limousin crossbred animals killed out marginally better, the extra returns at the factory was not enough to cover the cost the extra days required to bring them to slaughter compared to the early maturing Angus.

The only continental groups that fared slightly better than the Angus were the bulls, which netted an extra €86/hd at the meat plant. This came at an additional cost of just five extra days to bring them to slaughter weight and spec.

Teagasc researcher, Adam Woods, said that the 100 days of ad lib meal feeding during the last three months for the bulls being finished at 16 months suited the continentals. However, he added that more research would be required to establish whether the continentals could perform as well if they were being finished off grass.

Mr Woods emphasised that this was just the first year of slaughter data from the three-year trial.

Charolais and Limousin crossbred steers took an average of 88 extra days to bring to slaughter, compared to the Angus bullocks. While they were just 19kg heavier, higher kill-outs also helped boost the carcase value by €57 on average.

However, at a minimum estimated cost of €2.50 in daily feeding costs, these animals were at least €150/hd less profitable than the early maturing breed.

The continental crossbred heifers took an extra 57 days to bring to slaughter, but netted factory receipts that were €136/hd higher on average. But again, beef experts are adamant that farmers would be making as much from the early maturing breeds in this case.

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The trials are also exploding the myth that continentals cannot be profitably finished at young ages. The majority of the animals achieved fat scores of 3+ or 4- at either 16 months as bulls or at 19-23 months as steers and heifers.

The continental steers finished at 383kg carcase at 22 months on average, while the continental heifers finished at 339kg at 21 months on average.

The Derrypatrick herd currently comprises 100 cows, with half of the cows bred to a Charolais sire with a high terminal index, while 50pc are bred to an Angus sire, with high terminal index. It is a spring-calving set up, with rotational paddock grazing.

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