Rearing beef cattle

This month Richard talks about the beef cattle at Daylesford, giving a few pointers on feeding regimes and calving management.

  • There are three types of beef cattle at Daylesford:
  1. Hereford x Friesian: These are easy sucklers and produce a lot of milk from grass. They are usually crossed with an Aberdeen Angus for ease of calving.
  2. Aberdeen Angus: Well known for their ease of calving as they produce relatively slight calves. Angus are good at laying down fat on their bodies so it is important to manage their diet to ensure they are lean when they calf. 
  3. South Devon: Nick-named the orange elephants, South Devons are quiet cattle with good temperaments. They do not calf as easily as the other cattle. To overcome this, Richard crosses the South Devon heifers with Aberdeen Angus to produce a slighter calf for their first calving season. After this, they will be crossed with a South Devon bull to produce pure calves. 
  • It’s vital to provide the right level of nutrition leading up to calving. If the feed is too good a quality, the cow will produce a large calf, which can make calving more difficult. 
  • The beef cattle at Daylesford are on a ration of 50% straw and 50% silage to down grade the quality of feed that they are getting. 
  • Iodine is sprayed onto the backs of the cattle, which will absorb into the skin to give it a boost of iodine before calving. Each farm is unique in its mineral needs and it’s very important that you find out what your farm is short of and make sure it is provided to the cattle. 
  • Richard is working to selectively breed from the cows that produce milk from grass and put fat on their backs in a very natural way.
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