EBLEX presents beef targets

The EBLEX Beef Better Returns Programme (Beef BRP) has produced a set of cattle finishing performance targets and presented them in a 'turn-and-reveal' disc format.

Covering a range of different cattle types the disc provides targets for:

? daily growth rate

? slaughter and carcase weight

? age at slaughter

? maximum days on the finishing ration

? carcase classification

By presenting the targets in this format, the Beef BRP team hopes to encourage producers to be more aware of feed conversion efficiency and to look at the cost of feed in terms of performance rather than the price paid.

Dr Mary Vickers, beef scientist with EBLEX, said: "Cost effective beef production depends on understanding that feed conversion efficiency falls as cattle approach slaughter weight. Producers need to know when cattle are eating more feed in cost terms than the value of liveweight they are gaining. This way, they can check that cattle are performing efficiently or whether something needs to change.

"We've included some fairly challenging targets and presented them in an innovative fashion. Within any group of cattle there will be variations in frame size and conformation, leading to different growth rates, slaughter weights and killing-out percentages. The performance targets that we have set should be achievable by the majority of cattle at optimum feed efficiency, depending on genetics and feeding system.

"If beef producers compare their own performance records with the targets and aim to improve them over time, they should achieve better returns."

The targets are based on a two-stage system - growing the frame without the animal becoming over-fat, followed by a short sharp finishing period.

For more information, or to receive a free copy of the finishing cattle performance targets disc, EBLEX levy-payers should call 0870 241 8829 or email brp@eblex.org.uk