The bullocks have come out on top this year in the profitability analysis of the Thrive demonstration farm where 146 animals were finished between September and November this year at an average age of 20.3 months and a carcase weight of 290kg.

Within the bullocks the Angus breed were the most profitable (€265/head net margin) due mainly to the additional breed bonus payment at slaughter but also helped by the fact that calf price was lower than other breeds and they graded slightly better than their Hereford counterparts.

Simmental bullocks were the next most profitable (€257/head) due to a heavier carcase weight than the traditional breeds and while their carcase weight was similar to the Belgian Blue bullocks there was a €75/head difference in calf price between the two initially.

Heifer systems

Perhaps slightly curtailed by an earlier housing date for finishing this year, the performance of the heifers remains positive but the cost of production was higher due to the indoor finishing period.

The average net margin for heifers was €152/head and was again highest for Angus-bred stock, closely followed by Belgian Blue and Hereford.

Overall margins remain tight in these systems and the Thrive demonstration farm highlights the importance of having a high level of technical performance and decent quality stock in order to be viable.

A full analysis of the performance of this year’s stock is available in print in this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.