RESEARCH by AHDB concluded that up to 45 per cent of prime cattle slaughtered in the UK may not be meeting processor specifications, this amounted to an estimated £38 million of penalties deducted in 2017.
KW Alternative Feeds claim feeding too much starch in the diet of native breed animals will contribute towards producing an over-fat carcass, this is particularly in diets where protein levels are low. Even continental cattle require higher levels of protein than most people realise.
Samuel Wellock, nutritionist at KW Feeds says this is particularly important to consider to avoid unnecessary losses at slaughter: “Recent increases to some processor penalties mean that the total value lost for missing target specification could be up to £200 on a continental carcase.”
Even penalties between £40 and £50 per head, across a large number of animals can have a considerable effect on a farmer’s bottom line. KW says this is avoidable if choices of ration are properly matched to breed and growth targets.
“Aim for 20-25 per cent starch and 14-16 per cent crude protein (CP) for native breeds, or 30 – 35 per cent starch and 12-14 per cent CP for continental types.
“The balance of energy supply in the rumen is also critical to maximise feed efficiency and avoid acidosis,” he says.
Mr Wellock advises feeding a processed bread or biscuit blend as a good value option, and combined with soya hulls or sugar beet to supply digestible fibre.