Initial feed cost savings of around 12% have been found in cattle with the highest levels of feed efficiency at a data recording unit for the Defra/AHDB funded Beef Feed Efficiency Programme.

This industry project which is using Limousin cattle, aims to demonstrate how feed efficiency traits can be measured and selected for in beef cattle, with early indications showing that the most efficient cattle will eat less than others but grow at the same rate.

Interim results, which already indicate a notable range of feed efficiency between different sire groups, to date reveal that actual feed intake of the more feed efficient cattle has tended to be around 12% lower than that for the less efficient cattle, yet growth rates are similar. Across 100 growing cattle gaining 200kg of liveweight, the resultant feed cost savings would amount to more than £2200.

While the initial focus is on recording Limousin-sired cattle, the aim is to develop a system for recording feed efficiency that can be extended to other beef breeds in the future. This will undoubtedly provide significant opportunities for all beef producers to cut the cost of production.

Limousin-sired calves are still required for the programme and can be purchased, or loaned via a retained ownership arrangement, from dairy or beef herds.

Please contact Natalie Cormack on 07866 934563 / 01890 781006 or email if you have suitable cattle up to eight months of age.