Saler youngstock gain kilo a day

UK - Improved feed conversion rates and live weight gains have been the result of altering the diet for beef breeding and store cattle on an upland farm.
calendar icon 2 October 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Saler CattleMonthly weighings of youngstock in the past two years have shown that heifers and commercial bullocks at Poldean, Wamphray, near Moffat, in Dumfries and Galloway, have averaged more than 1kg daily liveweight gain while pedigree bulls have easily achieved 1.75kg.

Willie Davidson, who runs Poldean with his wife Jennifer and son Alisdair, attributes the improvement to the switch from a pelleted feed in his complete diet feeder to a custom-made meal geared to optimising rumen function.

The Davidsons farm almost 2,000 acres, which ascends from 270ft to 1,760ft, running 300 cows, including a few pedigree Charolais alongside a majority of Salers, a third of which are now pedigrees.

The French Salers breed has been at Poldean since the early 1990s, but when the farm's beef cattle and sheep were culled in the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic the Davidsons had to re-establish their herd.

This created the opportunity to buy foundation stock from France, including the bull that was champion at the local show in the Salers region.

Now the aim is to minimise disease problems by running a closed breeding policy, with only Charolais and Salers bulls bought in as well as rams for the 500-ewe Lleyn flock.

Willie said: "Currently the cattle are a mix of pedigree and commercial, although the aim is to go totally pedigree Salers. We're finding that there is a big demand for Salers bulling heifers, whether pure bred or almost pure bred."

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