Ensuring The Most Cost-Effective Finishing

UK - Beef finishers across the country should avoid the temptation of reducing supplementary feeding to cope with yet another winter of high concentrate prices, advises EBLEX, the English Beef and Lamb Executive.
calendar icon 17 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Cutting back on concentrates will clearly reduce daily production costs. However, the industry body’s latest cost comparisons underline the extent to which this approach will increase overall finishing costs through lower daily gains.

The costings – from a special new EBLEX Beef Finishing System Comparison tool – show that reducing finishing gains from 1.3 kg/day to 0.9 kg/day by cutting concentrate feeding is likely to increase typical Holstein Friesian x Limousin steer barley beef finishing costs by over 20 per cent (or nearly £90/head).

This primarily results from extending the period required to finish stock at the same weight by almost half, increasing bedding, water and labour as well as total feed costs.

Encouragingly, the finishing comparisons also reveal that regimes based on home-grown forages are noticeably less cost sensitive to reductions in daily liveweight gains than those based on cereals. Cutting back on the supplementation of a good quality silage ration, for instance, gives a comparable penalty of only £25/head (or eight per cent).

At the same time, forage-based regimes are shown to offer valuable opportunities for economies over cereal-based finishing this season. In particular, both maize silage and good quality grass silage-based rations offer savings of £75/head (38p/kg gain) or more at current feed costs.

Under these circumstances, producers clearly need to plan their finishing regimes and rations particularly carefully this season to make the most of their individual opportunities for cost minimisation. Analysing home-grown forages and understanding their true cost is vital to ensuring the most cost-effective regimes.

The interactive EBLEX Beef Finishing System Comparison tool, available from www.eblex.org.uk, provides a simple and effective way of examining the financial implications of different finishing regimes. It enables producers to compare the total finishing costs and costs per kilogram of gain for a wide range of feeding options for different breeds, types of stock and starting and finishing weights at specific farm feed and other costs.

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