East farmers beef up cattle production techniques

MORE than 60 farmers from across the region boned up on beef production at an event in Essex last week.

They spent an afternoon at Toppesfield Hall Farm, Halstead, focusing on feeding and managing profitably.

The event which was held jointly by Harbro and Anglia Quality Meats (AQM), was hosted by Will Ketley and his family who annually finish over a 1000 head of cattle.

It included a mixing demonstration from Feedmix, which operates four mills in East Anglia. The demonstration illustrated the versatility of the mill, producing Mr Ketley’s high specification show mix and a high roughage mix, where the feedmobile chops and incorporates straw into the ration.

Tim Leigh and Malcolm Evans of AQM provided a carcase grading demonstration and some farmers admitted their lack of knowledge in this key area to profitability.

A presentation from Harbro’s David Philpotts gave farmers key points on rumen health, including the avoidance of acidosis during finishing, how adding chopped straw to rations adds ‘scratch factor’ to stimulate the rumen and keep it healthy, and Rumitech, a new launched product which reduces the amount of feed required per kilo of weight gain.

Mr Philpotts warned liver fluke continues to be prevalent and that farmers must treat their cattle to prevent any loss of performance.

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The farmers were given a tour of the farm, viewing top quality finishing cattle, show cattle, stock bulls and the Toppesfield Hall pedigree Limousin herd.

Four show cattle, selected by Mr Ketley and destined for the Christmas fatstock sale at Colchester, were judged on the hoof and the winner was Mr T Neal.

“We have been delighted with the turnout,” said Mike Jones of Harbro, who had organised the meeting. “It has been a worthwhile event for all involved, highlighting key areas where farmers can improve their performance through improved management, feeding and elimination of disease.”