The beef unit consists of two systems. A spring calving suckler - to - beef system and a dairy - to - beef system. The suckler herd is made up of 23 spring - calving continental cross cows. The calves run with their mothers until weaning in October. After weaning the steers and heifers are reared to slaughter weights at 23-25 months. We also have 20 store cattle. From 2019 we have 22 dairy to beef calves who are being kept for our new dairy to beef system bringng the cattle to slaughter weight by 2 years old.
The cattle are stored over the winter months in our beef shed which was built in 2013. The shed is 24m by 24m. It has 5 double - slatted pens for weanlings and fatttening cattle. There is 5 single slatted pens with straw - creep for the cows and calves. The building incorporates an animal handling area for student skills demonstration and safe animal handling. Animals are condition scored using these facilities at weaning and housing to group feed accordingly through the winter.
Dairy - Beef System
The dairy to beef system uses calves from the college's spring dairy calving herd that have been sired by Artifical Insemination bulls which have been selected from the ICBF dairy beef index. The group is half male and half female. The system will bring these Herford and Angus-cross animals to slaughter weights at 24 months for males and 19-20 months for females.
Cows have a pre-breeding scan and synchronised if necessary in April. Breeding started with fixed time Artrifical Insemination since the 3rd of May 2019. The cows were bred to AI until the 4th of June. A stock bull was used to breed repeats and late calvers until the 4th of July.