Easy calving Charolais bulls with super growth rates – the way forward says Co. Louth suckler farmer 31/01/2015

Easy calving Charolais bulls with super growth rates – the way forward says Co. Louth suckler farmer

The combination of easy calving with explosive growth rates is a formula been chased by many suckler farmers today. It is widely talked about in farming circles as one way of making suckler farming profitable. Well for one suckler farmer the mixture has been identified, trialled and tested. The results have been positive to say the least and have reinforced this farmer’s belief that it is the way forward for sustainable and profitable suckler farming.

The cows on the farm are predominantly black Limousin/Friesian cross cows and a smaller number of Simmental cross cows. The cows are sourced as heifers from local farmers and their reason for choice is their milking ability and low maintenance costs. The two Charolais stock bulls on the farm are sons of ‘Balthayock Adonis’, better known as the father of the renowned easy calving sire ‘Blelack Digger’. Both stock bulls have proved themselves exceptionally easy calved and are living up to their reputations as growth rate kings. ‘The average birth weight of our calves now is 45kg. The peace of mind I now have at calving is magnificent; it is such a relief to have no calving problems says the farmer’. Both bulls made such an impression that a third young charolais bull was purchased last year, a son of ‘Blelack Digger’ himself. So far over 20 heifers have calved down unassisted to him.

The system in place on the farm is calf – bull beef at 16 months. In October 2014 the first lot of bulls were weighed at grass at an average live weight of 599kg, leaving them with an average daily live weight gain of 1.41kg/day from birth. They had been reared on their mothers alone until 10 months old. They were weaned and transferred on to 2kg of meal/day until housing when they were put on 4kg of meal/day. They were then finished on 10kg of meal/day when killed in January of this year at 16 months old. The first 8 bulls killed out at an average carcass weight of 399kg; with an average grade of U- and a fat score 2+.

‘This is the route I have taken and it is the route I intend to take in the future insists the farmer. It is only now when I have no trouble at calving that I realise how much it means. I have Charolais bulls that are easily calved, calves with fantastic growth rates and cattle that are killing out well.’

Yearling Charolais X bulls out at grass
A young Charolais X heifer on the farm
Young Charolais X bulls on the farm
A 16 month old Charolais X bull before slaughter