Next week is the start of September, which means the grazing season is entering the final phase.

Depending on land type and the area of the country, there may be as little as four or five weeks left at grass or as many as 10 weeks.

Either way, now is the time to make a final call on which cattle are likely to kill off grass and which animals will need housing.

Grass quality, assuming there is adequate grazing available, will be declining as dry matter falls during autumn. Therefore, concentrate feeding will have to increase to compensate.

Target finishing weight

Assuming cattle are gaining 0.8kg to 1kg/day depending on the type of animal and breeding, cattle should be no more than 40kg to 60kg from reaching their target finishing weight by the end of August.

Cattle that need to gain more than 60kg of liveweight will be better off housed for a short intensive finishing period on high-quality, high-dry matter silage and meal.

Handle cattle each week to assess fat cover and alter meal levels to suit. Continental steers will need 3kg to 4kg/day to achieve a suitable finish, with heifers needing 2kg to 3kg, depending on grass quality.

Native beef breeding will require lower levels of meal feeding, with heifers potentially killing off a grass-only diet without any concentrate feeding being required.

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