In beef production systems, feed provision is the single largest direct cost incurred, accounting for approximately 75% of total costs of production. Due to the considerably lower comparative cost of grazed grass as a feedstuff, beef production systems should aim to increase animal output from grazed pasture.
However, an indoor winter period of varying duration is inevitable on all Irish farms. The main feed costs on grass-based beef systems relate to feeding grass silage and concentrates, especially when feeding finishing cattle. The key principles for the first winter, second grazing season and finishing period management are similar for both suckler- and dairy-bred cattle.