Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Teagasc urging farmers to take cattle weights at start and end of the season

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Teagasc has urged farmers to weigh their cattle at the start and end of winter after research found that some owners did not realise how poorly their animals were performing.

Teagasc and the ICBF measured the daily gain last winter of weanling steers and heifers being fed silage and meal on 18 beef farms.

The average daily gain was 0.38kg for the steers and 0.39kg for the heifers over a 100-day period. But, at five of the farms weanling steers gained less than 0.2kg of liveweight per day.

So instead of putting on the target 60kg over the three month period (0.6kg per day), they put up less than 20kg.

All of the farmers with the poorer performing weanlings were surprised at the poor results.

The latest Teagasc cattle newsletter is urging farmers to weigh their weanlings themselves or by using the ICBF mobile weighing service.

It asks: " How did your weanlings do last winter?

"If you didn't weigh them at the start and end of the winter you cannot answer that question. Without weighing, would you notice the difference between a 0.2 and 0.6kg daily gain?"

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ICBF technicians in each county use a weighing platform that fits into most cattle crushes and is capable of weighing large numbers of stock in a short period of time.

The farmer will receive a print-out of the weights and within a week a full report is posted out which includes details such as how the cattle have performed since any previous weighings.

Irish Independent