The cattle are mixed-grazed with the sheep flock on 24 hectares of land at a stocking rate of 2.75 LU/ha. The farm is walked over 30 times during the grazing season with budgeting decisions based on PastureBase data.
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 28 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. The unit also has 24 store cattle. The dairy-beef system of 24 cattle aims to bring the heifers and steers to slaughter weight by 20-24 months.
The cattle are housed over the winter months in the 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 50% male and 50% 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 starts with fixed time Artrifical Insemination in the 1st week of May. The cows are bred to AI until the 1st week of July.