Best value feeds in efficient rations key to profitable beef finishing

Failing to use feeds which offer best value for nutrient supply and convert efficiently into growth can raise the feed costs on a typical beef finishing unit by 60p/kg liveweight gain (LWG) or more, worth at least £90/head over a 100-120 day finishing period.

“A finished animal worth around 190p/kg LW (350p/kg carcase weight) at slaughter fed for 80-90p/kg LWG leaves a lot more margin than one where feed costs are 150p/kg LWG,” states KW nutritionist Dr Matt Witt.

“Many are still not choosing feeds based on the value and quantity of nutrients supplied. The net result is a low nutrient density diet that’s often poorly balanced, and which isn’t efficiently converted into growth.”

According to Dr Witt, rations capable of finishing cattle at 80p/kg LWG or lower need to contain at least 12.0-12.5MJ ME/kg DM and 30-40% (DM basis) starch-plus-sugars to drive growth and finishing, plus 24-28% NDF (digestible fibre) and access to straw to promote an efficent rumen fermentation.

“Rolled cereals are a popular beef feed, but processed bread and the potato-starch moist feed Megasupastarch are better value when it comes to supplying starch, and careful use of urea can help lower protein costs,” he explains.

“Other good options include the high value ‘multi-purpose’ feeds, such as ReguPro 38 liquid feed (sugars and protein) and Traffordgold wheat-gluten moist feed (digestible fibre, energy and protein), both of which also improve paltability, increase intakes and reduce ration sorting.”

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