A new end of project technical report is available to download from the AgriSearch website.
This project aimed to evaluate the health status and lifetime performance of dairy-origin calves (Holstein and Angus, Limousin and Belgian Blue cross Holstein) sourced from dairy farms in Northern Ireland. With some 48% of prime cattle slaughetered in Northern Ireland being sourced from the dairy herd this report will of interest to many beef farmers as well as to dairy farmers who provide the raw material.
The research showed that overall 15% of calves had inadeqaute immune status, with a significant variation between farms. Calves with indequate immune status:
- Required a greater number of antibiotic treatments in the pre-weanig period.
- Had 17% lower liveweight gains in the period up to 3 months of age
- Were 17 days older a slaughter
- Produced a lower margin over feed of £17 per animal
Relative to the standard system, steers raised on low labour rearing systems:
- Were 7kg lighter at 12 months of age and at slaughter
- Had similar carcass weight
- Liveweight gains from start to 12 months and from start to slaughter were lower
- Up to 60% less time feeding calves
- Labour Costs were reduced by £1273 for a 50-calf rearing system over a 6 week period.
The research project also looked at the performance of steers and bulls on a variety of rearing regimes as well as comparing the performance of different sire breeds.
Further information and the end of project techincal report can be accessed by clicking on the link below.