The last four heifers from the 2021-born crop of heifers on Newford Farm were drafted for slaughter in recent weeks.

The four heifers were better-quality types that required additional feeding to reach the desired level of fat score.

The heifers in question averaged 351.48kg carcase weight, significantly higher than the average carcase weight across the batch of 40 heifers of 296kg.

There was one R- grading heifer, one R=, one R+ and a U+ heifer. The latter failed to reach the desired fat cover at fat class 2+, while the three other graded 2+ and 3=. The average sale price was €1,739.82/head.

Heifer analysis

As mentioned above, the entire batch of 40 heifers recorded an average carcase weight of 296kg.

Heifers weighed 564kg prior to slaughter, equating to an average kill-out of 52%. The average grade was R-3= and 38 out of the 40 heifers graded 2+ and upwards on fat score.

The average sale price received was €1,507/head. This was based on an average carcase weight of €5.06/kg.

Lifetime concentrate intake was 306kg, with 32 heifers drafted off grass without any concentrate feeding. The average age of slaughter was just under 18 months at 544 days of age.

A focus in the herd in 2022 was to see if the average age of slaughter could be significantly reduced by prioritising the length of the grazing season for heifers.

Heifers were turned out to grass on 20 January after a housing period of approximately two months. The initial target was to slaughter heifers at less than 16 months, but this was not feasible without significant concentrate input.