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Drafting and Sale of Newford Farm Beef Heifers


Michael Fagan, Teagasc Technician on the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm in Athenry, Co. Galway gives a brief update on the latest drafting of the Newford beef heifers, how they performed and their kill out.

There were 56 beef heifers on Newford Farm to be slaughtered this year and all of these heifers were sired by 5 star terminal bulls. Fiston, Bivouac, Hideal and Mullary Intrepid were used on the mature herd and Ewdenvale Ivor was used on the first calvers.

All of the 56 yearling heifers were turned out to grass on the 27th of February at an average liveweight of 411Kgs, after achieving an Average Daily Gain from housing to turnout of 0.52 Kilogram over 118 days during the winter period.

On the 26th of July 2Kgs of concentrates was introduced to the beef heifers at grass. This was gradually brought up to 4Kgs before slaughter. The heifers were brought into a concrete yard each day for feeding to prevent paddock poaching.

On the 23rd of September, 18 beef heifers were drafted for slaughter and their average liveweight was 572Kgs at 19 months of age. These heifers were 208 days at grass before slaughter and achieved an Average Daily Gain of 0.77Kg or a total of 161 Kgs liveweight from turnout to slaughter.

On average each heifer consumed 222Kgs of a 12 % crude protein ration before slaughter costing €68 per heifer. Two of these 18 heifers were draft directly off grass without any meal intervention from a separate bunch of heifers. 

The 18 in-spec heifers graded on average R= 3 =, with an average carcass weight of 291Kgs with a 51 per cent kill out percentage. The factory base price on the day was €4.25 and all of the 18 in-spec heifers qualified for the extra 20c per Kg through the Quality Payment System or QPS.

Two R + grading heifers received an extra 6c per Kg as per the QPS conformation bonuses. But this was cancelled out by one heifer grading O+, resulting in a 12c per kilogram price deduction. So the average payment per Kg of beef for the heifers was €4.45, leaving the average sale price for the 18 heifers at €1,295 at 19 months of age.

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This orange Fiston heifer was born on the 28th February 2020 out of a 3rd calver Hereford cross cow and grade R=3+. Her liveweight on the sale day was 528Kgs and she had a carcass weight of 264 Kgs. The heifer kill out at 50 per cent with a sale price of €1,172.

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This grey Fiston heifer was born on the 12th February 2020 out of a 5th calver Aberdeen Angus cross cow and grade R=3-. Her liveweight on the sale day was 606Kgs and she had a carcass weight of 314 Kgs. The heifer kill out at 52 per cent with a sale price of €1,396.

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Another grey Fiston Heifer born on 17th February 2020 out of a 4th calver Aberdeen Angus cross cow. The heifer grade R-3-. Her liveweight at slaughter was 597Kgs and she had a carcass weight of 300Kgs. Her kill out percentage was 50 per cent, with a sale price of €1,333.

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This strong Bivouac heifer out of a 2nd calver Hereford cross cow, was born on the 27th January 2020, the heifer grade R=3=. The Bivouac heifer liveweight on the day was 597Kgs and she had a carcass weight of 306Kgs. The heifer kill out at 51 per cent with a sale price of €1,362.

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This grey Fiston Heifer born on the 4th February 2020 out of a 7th calver Aberdeen Angus cross cow, the heifer grade R=3-. Her liveweight at slaughter was 627Kgs and she had a carcass weight of 329Kgs. The heifer kill out at 52 per cent with a sale price of €1,464.

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Another Fiston Heifer born on the 7th February 2020 out of a 3rd calver Aberdeen Angus cross cow, the heifer grade R-3+. Her liveweight at slaughter was 580Kgs and she had a carcass weight of 295Kgs. The heifer kill out at 51 per cent with a sale price of €1,314.

The remaining 33 beef heifers are at grass at the moment and 25 of these heifers are receiving 4Kgs of concentrates at grass. Newford will keep drafting these heifers as they come fit and we are aiming to have all heifers sold off the farm by mid-November.