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New 16 Month Bull Penalty Could Affect Finishing Methods

21 January 2014

UK – Few farmers will feed bulls beyond 15 months of age should Northern Irish plants continue to apply hefty penalties on bulls, says the Livestock and Meat Commission.

Bulls over 16 months are currently subject to penalties as great as 50p/kg by several plants, more than twice the 15p/kg average introduced in the second half of last year.

The warning was sounded in late 2013 when factories warned of greater penalties in the New Year.

LMC analysts say tougher penalties could mean production changes in the finishing stage of bulls on many farms.

Last year, young bull kill was a fifth higher as factories quoted penalties of 10-20p/kg on bulls over 16 months to reduce flow of mature bulls which are hard to market.

Analysts say the market and production is set to alter.

A Livestock and Meat Commission spokesperson said: “Overage bulls are unsuitable for many premium retail and foodservice contracts, given the reputation for the beef from older bulls being dark, firm and dry.”

“It remains to be seen how stringently these penalties will be applied, particularly in the context of tight cattle supplies. However, the recent LMC Quarterly (Autumn 2013 Issue) demonstrated that even at penalties of 15p/kg, it does not make economic sense to feed bulls beyond 15 months of age.

“These penalties will mean that some producers will need to consider a change to their finishing systems.”

Further Reading

You can view specialist advice on finishing bulls under 16 months by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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