WITH GRAIN and protein prices on the rise, beef finishers will need to maximise feed conversion efficiency if they are to be profitable this winter, according to Keenan’s senior specialist, Seth Wareing.

Results from the second league table analysis of UK beef finishers using Keenan’s PACE system has shown a startling £2/kg difference in margin between the top and bottom producers.

The analysis shows cattle finished by the best producer in Keenan’s third quarter league table, gaining 180kg of weight for every tonne of dry matter fed, compared to just 57kg of gain for the poorest performer in the rankings.

This, says Mr Wareing, emphasises the need for beef finishers to pay attention to feed conversion efficiency this winter. “Most farmers are in a position where they have little control over either their feed price or their finished beef price. What they can, however, control is the performance of cattle on their farms.

“Farmers whose cattle finish efficiently, maximising weight gain for every kg of dry matter fed will be the ones who see a profit this winter.” The top producer in its latest league table is achieving a margin of £1.63/day, while the bottom end producer was losing 38p/day on every beast produced.

Mr Wareing says with feed price hikes of about 30% not uncommon this winter it is essential to get everything possible from every kg of dry matter fed. “There are few if any good value feeds out there this winter and cheap feeds are cheap for a reason. Equally, there are shortages of top quality forages, so the most must be made of every feed ingredient.”