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Green Acres Update - 23 September 2021

Key management tips | Summer slaughter performance | Events

Key management tips

  • Continue to supplement calves with concentrate feeding up until housing
  • Monitor the performance of early-maturing heifers and draft frequently
  • Move cattle frequently and use a back fence if grazing conditions become challenging
  • Extend the rotation length to 40 days from October 1
  • Monitor animals for signs of lungworm and dose if necessary
  • Complete collection and testing of silage samples

Summer slaughter performance

A number of farmers enrolled in the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme operate systems where steers are carried and slaughtered after a relatively short third season at grass.

Although not as profitable as some earlier finishing systems on a per hectare basis, it provides farms with the opportunity to generate cash flow at a relatively quiet time of the year.

The two main animal types involved in this production system are Holstein Friesian (HOFR) steers and later-born, early-maturing Angus and Hereford steers.

A liveweight of 680kg and a carcass weight of 350kg is targeted for Holstein Friesian animals at 28 months. Early-maturing steer targets of 610kg liveweight, producing a carcass of 320kg at 26 months, is desired.

Third season steers account for a relatively small proportion of animals produced by Teagasc Green Acres participants – amounting to approximately 11% of projected total sales this year.

Of these, 94 Holstein Friesian steers were slaughtered between June and September, while Angus and Hereford throughput stood at 29 and 14 head, respectively.

Holstein Friesian steers slaughtered over the summer months generated an average carcass weight of 323kg with carcass characteristics of O-3= at 29.3 months.

In terms of the early-maturing animals, Angus steers achieved a carcass grade of O=3+ and carcass weight of 318kg at 28.4 months. Similar grading was also witnessed for the Hereford steers, while these animals produced a carcass weight of 325kg at 29 months.

BreedNumberAgeCarcassConformation€/kg
HOFR  94  29.3  323kg  O-3=  4.13 
Angus  29  28.4  318kg  O=3+  4.47 
Hereford  14  29.0  325kg  O=3+  4.29 

Although the animals sold by the Teagasc Green Acres farmers this summer failed to hit the targets in terms of carcass weight or age, it must be noted that these farms are operating split slaughtering enterprises. And, the animals slaughtered over the summer months were the poorer-performing animals, with those heavy enough finished prior to housing last November or at 24 months after a period of meal supplementation.

Teagasc Green Acres events

Two of the farmers enrolled in the Teagasc Green Acres Programme will host open days over the coming weeks to showcase their farming systems. Discussions on the day will focus on the early stage management of the calf, winter weight gain and slaughter options.

When and where?

  • JP Hammersley, Lattin, Co. Tipperary on 29 September at 3:30pm
  • Irvine Allen, Mount Temple, Co. Westmeath on 5 October at 2:00pm

Pre-registration is essential for both events by contacting Teagasc Clonmel on 052-6121300 for the open day on JP Hammersley’s farm or Teagasc Tullamore on 057-9321405 for the open day on Irvine Allen’s farm.