Maximise early beef growth or risk longer finishing and higher costs

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Beef cattle feeding image

Missing out on even 10% of early growth potential in black and white bulls or late-maturing beef cattle could increase finishing times by 14 days and feed requirements by a minimum of 220kg, claims KW nutritionist Charlotte Ward.

“Maximising growth when feed conversion efficiency (FCE) is greatest will increase overall growth rates, lower feed costs per kg, reduce time to slaughter and improve quality of finish,” she states.

The key is to switch to boost the supply of rumen-bypass protein – otherwise known as digestible undegraded protein (DUP) – during the first five months of growth, but without increasing overall crude protein levels.

SoyPass image
SoyPass rumen-protected soyabean meal is a high value source of rumen-bypass protein.

“Using rapeseed meal, maize distillers’ feed or soyabean meal rather than low-cost protein sources like urea will help maximise early lean (muscle) growth without encouraging fat deposition,” explains Ms Ward. “In some instances, better value DUP feeds like SoyPass rumen-protected soyabean meal and NovaPro heat-treated rapeseed expeller can also be worthwhile.

“It’s an approach that’s particularly well suited to black and white bulls and late maturing continental cattle – such as Charlolais, Limousin and Simmental – that tend to continue growing frame and lean tissue (muscle) during the finishing period, rather than laying down fat, unless early growth is maximised.”

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