Sixteen bullocks and nine heifers were drafted for slaughter this week on the Thrive demo farm in Cashel, Co Tipperary.

The heifers averaged 580kg, while the bullocks averaged 612kg.

Of the 140 cattle to be slaughtered this year, 135 have now been sent to the factory.

The five remaining bullocks will be fit for slaughter early in the new year.

Regular drafting

The last draft from the shed took place just 10 days prior to this draft and goes to show the importance of regular drafting at this stage of the production system.

This week’s cattle looked like they would require at least another three weeks of feeding at the last draft.

However, they have really kicked on in the last 10 days to get them over the line before Christmas.

Had they been left until the new year we would have had over-fat animals.

Double hit

This leads to a double hit – firstly, we would have been penalised in the factory for over-fat carcases; and, secondly, we would have had two weeks of feed put into them that was not necessary.

With daily feed costs averaging over €2.30/head/day, this translates to an additional feed cost of €32/animal.

If you are feeding stock this winter, it is well worth handling them every week once they start to come fit for slaughter.