Insights from Local Beef Suppliers

Jerry Twomey along with his family are farming at Barrachauring, Donoughmore Co. Cork and are operating a suckler to weanling system with some of the progeny finished on farm as young bulls under 16 months, bullocks and heifers. Jerry breeds Limousin and Belgian Blue progeny by AI with the majority of the progeny sold for live export; under 12 months of age. Jerry’s cattle won a range of prizes at the weanling show and sales and Fatstock show and sales throughout 2013. In 2013 Jerry was advised by his Dairygold Area Sales manager Kieran Creed to feed Prime Elite Maize Munch.

 
Jerry Twomey, Donoughmore

Prime Elite Maize Munch
Jerry fed Prime Elite Maize Munch to weanlings as a supplement at grass throughout the autumn of 2013 and fed it to finishing cattle and cull cows intensively both on grass and indoors. Jerry found that he was able to build intakes relatively quickly without digestive upsets. “I build cattle onto 5Kg twice per day over a number of weeks and eventually fed Prime Elite Maize Munch ad-lib topping up the trough’s each day keeping feed fresh in front of them at all times”. Jerry regularly weighs the cattle on farm and has found that cattle have gained 1.3 to 1.6Kg per day while being fed Prime Elite Maize Munch. The last batch of weanling bulls were sold through a mart for live export at 10 months of age and gained 100Kg over a 65 day feeding period equating to a whopping average daily live weight gain of 1.54Kg per day. “We fed the weanling bulls 3Kg of Prime Elite Maize Munch for the first month and increased to 4Kg for the final 35 days. The bulls were also consuming quality baled silage”.

Historical Performance
In years previous when young bulls were finished on the farm, Jerry was unable to get bulls into a fat score of more than 2-/2=. Since Jerry started feeding Prime Elite Maize Munch to his young bulls, he now can finish bulls at, or under, 16 months of age with fat scores from 3- to 3+. An example of this, Jerry explained, was a Limousin bull that graded an E=3+ 429Kg deadweight at 15.5 months. This has allowed Jerry the option to sell young bulls on the factory pricing grid which maximises their value as animals are finished to premium market specification. Jerry found that young bulls that were fed Prime Elite Maize Munch on an ad-lib basis were very content in comparison to other years when bulls were fed a competitor ration and were restless and aggressive “The few young bulls that I finished were very sober and content compared to other years – bulls used to fight and I had to separate them. Since I started feeding Prime Elite Maize Munch I found that animals were more content and relaxed and intakes were more consistent which led to higher daily gains and a shorter finishing period.”

No Lameness or Digestive Upsets
Jerry also commented that no lameness or laminitis occurred. This is testament to the inclusion of maize and yeast in the ration which reduce the risk of lameness and digestive upsets. Jerry found this a huge benefit “I was able to push cattle’s intakes without scouring them or digestive upsets occurring – animal’s appetites were consistent every day while they were on the finishing diet. The dung was tight (semi solid) throughout the feeding period which indicated good digestion and the cattle’s hides were clean as a result”. 

Success I the Christmas Fatstock Show and Sale in Kanturk
Jerry fed five cattle Prime Elite Maize Munch last autumn for the Christmas Fatstock Show and Sale in Kanturk Mart. All animals gained an average of 1.3 to 1.5 kg’s over the 100 day finishing period. Jerry had great success and all cattle won a prize on the day. Four heifers won the Best Pen of Cattle and a bullock placed 1st in the Baby Beef Belgian Blue Bullock class.

 
Jerry and his son Robert receiving the Best of Cattle cup with class sponsor Eugene Philpott of Philpott’s Tyre Centre, show judges and John Cott Chairman of Kanturk Mart.

Jerry’s heifers who won the Best Pen of Cattle at Kanturk Mart’s Christmas Fatstock Show & Sale

 
Jerry’s sons Robert & Alan pictured with their Belgian Blue heifer that won Reserve Champion at Castleisland Co Op Mart’s Autumn Born Weanling Show and Sale July 2013.
 
Jerry on Prime Elite Maize Munch
“I would recommend that farmers feed Prime Elite Maize Munch. It suits all types of stock on farm from weanlings to finishing cattle. It has allowed me to drive animal performance to their high genetic potential at a young age. Prime Elite Maize Munch has offered me the option that in a year where prices for weanling bulls for live export are not attractive that I can confidently finish young bulls on the farm and achieve fat score 3’s under 16 months of age suiting prime beef market specification using a simple feeding system. I think that it is great value for money as I can achieve what I set out to achieve when feeding cattle – high weight for age which achieves their genetic potential”.