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How fatty acids can increase returns and boost unit throughput

A 9% boost in beef throughput

UFAC’s David Bonsall says adding fatty acids to the diets of rearing and finishing beef cattle can increase returns and boost unit throughput by around 9%.

Returns from beef fattening depend on hitting target specifications for weight and fat class, and achieving them as soon as possible while controlling feed costs. Faster finishing saves on bedding, vet and medicine and other costs per animal. Most importantly it allows an increased throughput with more finished animals sold per year.

Many rearing and finishing diets based on cereals contain less oil than is recommended. Rearing diets will often be around 2.5% oil while the recommendation is upto 3.0%. For finishing cattle typical diets are c. 2.5% oil but the recommendation is up to 6% oil. Increasing oil content to the maximum can bring major benefits.

In a typical rearing diet, the target oil level can be achieved by replacing 0.3kg of barley with 0.3kg/head/day of UFAC Megabeef. This increases the energy from 11.6 MJ/kgDM to 12.1 MJ/kgDM, meaning an animal growing from 80-350kg will hit the end weight 25 days sooner.

In fattening diets, the target oil content is achieved by swapping 0.5kg/head/day of barley for 0.5kg of Megabeef, boosting the energy density by 0.6MJ/kgDM. Cattle starting at 350kg will hit 640kg 12 days sooner than cattle on an unsupplemented diet.

Megabeef is a unique blend of specially selected rumen-inert fatty acids which optimises oil content of beef rearing and finishing diets, including the essential C18:2, C18:3, plus C18:1, EPA and DHA, all of which mean cattle will have an improved FCE and DLWG.

If an animal is fed Megabeef from 80kg LWT through to finish, it will finish round 37 days faster compared to a standard barley based ration. It will also achieve an enhanced carcass grade, so improving price/kg.

Economics are what count

Megabeef is more expensive than barley and over the 460 day rearing and finishing period, replacing some barley with Megabeef will increase fed costs by around £9/head.

However, the better grading will increase carcase price by around £19, giving £10 increased margin per head. But the big benefit is that saving 37 days per animal will allow an extra 9% of animal to be finished per year, increasing total returns and returns per space in the building.

So making sure your cattle are fed the optimum oil levels, with specific fatty acids in the diet, is one way to significantly improve productivity and returns.