MISSING OUT on just 10% of early growth potential in black and white bulls, or continental-cross beef cattle could increase finishing times by 14 days and feed requirements by a minimum of 220kg, according to KW nutritionist, Dr Anna Sutcliffe. 

“Maximising early lean growth – when feed is converted into growth most efficiently – will increase overall growth rates, reduce time to slaughter and improve quality of finish,” she states.

“The extra income this generates, with additional feed costs more than outweighed by improvements in feed conversion efficiency, means better margins per head and greater overall unit profitability.”

The key is to switch to high quality protein feeds to boost rumen-bypass protein – otherwise known as digestible undegraded protein (DUP) – during the first five months of growth, but without increasing overall crude protein levels.

“Using British wheat distillers’ feed, rapeseed meal or soyabean meal, rather than low-cost protein sources such as urea, will help maximise early lean (muscle) growth without encouraging fat deposition,” argued Dr Sutcliffe.

“In some instances, better value DUP feeds like SoyPass rumen-protected soyabean meal and ProtoTec heat-treated rapemeal can also be worthwhile."