In 2017 when we were choosing the system for the farm, bulls were the obvious choice. Housing is limited on the farm and for the last six years we have been renting additional accommodation to house heifer weanlings during the winter.
Bulls have been fed on a high-cereal diet starting off on 2kg/head/day in November and building up to ad-lib by February.
Bulls’ consumption of concentrates has been averaging around 1.6t/head/day.
The average cost of ration in 2019 was €266/t which left a total ration cost per bull at €426/head.
In 2022 this ration price had increased to €433/t or €693/head. This is the equivalent of a 60% increase in finishing costs in 2022.
Table 2 outlines the bull performance over the last number of years on the farm. Average bull sale value is up €501/head or 30% in 2022. The system is kept as simple as possible, with bulls housed on slats with rubber mats.
A new shed constructed this year will mean bulls will be housed on a combination of slats and a straw lieback area from next year onwards.
Table 1 outlines the breed performance of the 44 bulls slaughtered in 2021. Average carcase weight was 384kg with the average price per head coming in at €1,666 in 2021.