Performance of cattle bred at CAFRE’s Hill Farm Development Centre - June 2019

Date published: 04 July 2019

The CAFRE Hill Farm Development Centre, Glenwherry herd currently comprises of 100 spring calving suckler cows. The main focus at the CAFRE Hill Farm Development Centre is the integration of the livestock enterprises and environmental management. The farm is partially situated within the Antrim Hills Special Protection Area (SPA) for Hen Harrier and Merlin.

Natasha Ferguson, recently appointed Beef Technologist at CAFRE along with Lindsay Mawhinney, Assistant Farm Manager, CAFRE Abbey Farm discussing performance to date of 2018 born hill steers.

The herd are calved from mid-April through to mid-June, with a suckler calf to beef production enterprise in operation. A three breed rotational crossbreeding programme is in place to maximise hybrid vigour which consists of Aberdeen Angus, Shorthorn and Limousin genetics. Herd replacements are AI’d to easy calving Aberdeen Angus bulls.

All progeny once weaned are transported to the CAFRE Abbey Farm for finishing, with some heifers selected as replacements and the remaining heifers and steers finished between 22 - 24 months of age.

The performance of the 2017 born steers and heifers at slaughter is summarised in Table 1 below. The early maturing breeds Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus required less days to finish (heifers -13 days and -29 days) and (steers -27 days and -66 days), respectively) and had greater carcass weight compared to their late maturing Limousin bred counterparts. Carcass conformation score was greater for the Limousin bred heifer and steers, whereas carcass fat score was greater for the Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus animals.

Gender Breed Type Age (days) Weight (kg) Conformation score Fat score Carcass weight (kg) KO (%)
Heifer LIM 671 585 R+ 4- 324 55.3
Heifer SH 684 649 R= 4= 344 53.0
Heifer AA 642 639 R= 4= 341 53.3
Steer LIM 709 661 U- 3+ 383 57.8
Steer SH 682 703 R+ 4- 396 56.5
Steer AA 643 715 R+ 4- 385 53.8

The results shown above are from one year’s slaughter information.

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