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What breed for summer grazing bullocks to sell as stores?

  • 17-12-2021 12:41pm
    Registered Users Posts: 457 ✭✭ n1st

    If you were to purchase 16 weanlings in March and sell in November, what breed would you choose? Probably bullocks but maybe heifers.

    No feed, no silage, just grass.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,241 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves

    The risk with this system is if you get locked up with TB. Summer grazing stores is all about the weight you can put on them. Weight decides margin. There was s a chance that you could slaughter heifers straight off grass in October/ November.

    Slava Ukrainii

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,230 ✭✭✭ Cavanjack

    Going by this back end there was a great demand for aa and white head stores. If you could buy them at 300kg they’d be easy kept over the summer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭ Hard Knocks

    If you’re buying for summer grazing to sell in the Autumn then it’s hard to go past Charolais and Limousine. Remember the day you buy is the day you sell, as in if you buy ad good one you’ll have a good one to sell.

    They’ll not make you much money but they’ll cover themselves, keep the place clean and lift the payments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,071 ✭✭✭✭ Base price

    If the proposed climate action plan to reduce the slaughter age of prime beef comes to pass what affect will it have on the viability of continental bred bullocks?

  • Registered Users Posts: 386 ✭✭ Theheff

    A half decent Friesian bullock all the way. Leave a far better margin no matter what the market is in my opinion. But if you prefer looking a good stock then stick to the Charolais and limousines. It's all about the figures for me. Small scale enterprise here so figures are important to survive.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,789 ✭✭✭ amacca


    Less methane ...if you don't count the concentrates you have to feed to finish them out of the shed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭ Belongamick

    Red Limos - Ch too expensive.

    A poor quality animal will eat as much as a good animal - stay away from FR in my opinion.

    Just think the continentals respond well to a pinch of concentrates in Sept/Oct.

    Slight word of caution - keep an eye for pneumonia if buying early in the year. Imagine how warm a shed can be this week and the same stock will be out in rough weather next march.

  • Registered Users Posts: 386 ✭✭ Theheff

    He best go and do his own thing. Everyone has there own opinions. Your not going to make a fortune on that system. Spring is the worst time of the year to be buying. Maybe that will change now with fertilizer prices.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,071 ✭✭✭✭ Base price

    I agree although but with the very important caveat - who is going to properly pay the farmer who rears these dairy calves. Selling them for 1.23 to 1.37/kg @ 250/350kg isn't viable but some farmers do it year on year.

    I have previously posted on F&F our costs for rearing (250/300) FR/FRx bull suck calves albeit a few years ago. For those that haven't seen the posts - it cost us €85/hd for cmr, Rispoval RS+Pi3 intranasal vaccine and a dose of Bovicox. Those costs don't include the purchase price of the calf, heating water for cmr, straw for bedding, hay/straw for roughage, transport/mart or labour charges but do include discounts that we got for bulk purchases/early settlements for cmr and veterinary products. We bought in and hauled our own straw/hay and used to rear calves to beef.

    ** edit to add FRx

    Post edited by Base price on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,377 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler

    Surely they'll give a better conversion rate tahn dairy calve

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,482 ✭✭✭ Grueller

    I would think so, but the emissions of a suckler cow for 12 months is also on their back whereas the same emissions are on the milk output of the cow when considering dairy calves

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,377 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler

    I'm still convinced the calculations will be proved wrong, must be my old age I suppose, can't see the harm in cattle eating grass

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,377 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,071 ✭✭✭✭ Base price

    The proposed new climate action plan doesn't give a feck about conversation rates - it demands a early slaughter age irrespective of breed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,377 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler

    I killed all my sucklers at 22 mths and less

    Conversion rates my dear, conversation is for humans 😎

  • Registered Users Posts: 386 ✭✭ Theheff

    I do not rear dairy calves and have not done so in many years. I cannot verify your figures, but I have no doubt there are correct.

    Not sure why you are referring to the cost of rearing a dairy calf as it was not mentioned on my post (and in particular using bold letters) I simple said the margins were better from a Friesian bullock in my opinion based on my experience only. If you want to go into rearing dairy calf costs then we should mention the cost a suckler farmer has to rear a calf which is much more than a dairy calf. Suckler stock do not get the value they deserve by the factories. I am not sure if you have ever seen a dairy carcass (any breed) against a suckler carcass. There is no comparison. The size of the bones from the dairy stock would shock you. I do hope our suckler farming stays going as they are a very important sector in this industry. Hats of to them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 792 ✭✭✭ mr.stonewall

    I feel that dairy bred stock are going to be the ones to feel the pinch this spring with the rise in price of the 3 F's fertiliser, feed and fuel. Best value maybe in the AAx and HEX category. Never under estimate the margin that can be left with a FR. It's all about the bit in the middle, sale price minus cost price. Being flexible with breeds can strike value.

    A word of caution to the OP is don't get too concerned with breed, it's what you can out the most weight on.

    My personal preference would be AA or Hex heifers. If you get close to 500kg next back end you are in the hit zone for the hook.

    Looking at the current climate and predictions regarding hospitality and covid. There is going to be a pinch point with potential issues with reduced socialisation of people, thus affecting sales with indoors and the virus. Summer should spark an opening, leading into autumn with maybe a rise of the virus at the back end of the year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭ Jjameson

    Buy hairy continentals. You have a chance of a turn. but plainer cattle in this system generally haven’t a prayer of a chance.

    I bought a good few cattle this autumn and amongst them some friesians that a man grazed from early april to November, putting up 150 kg for €100 gross.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 386 ✭✭ Theheff

    Looks like a fine animal the black bullock. Seems to have a nice bit of width on the shoulders. Hard to tell from pictures but I'd say the red bullock has the scope to take another few kgs. What kinda of diet have you them on. I have a few Friesian Bullocks (22months) on silage and about 2kgs of beef finisher for the last week, but I will probably increase it in the new year. I have never finished friesian bullocks in the shed so I would appreciate any advice. Have finished them off the grass before 30 months and was happy with the results.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭ Jjameson

    both bought last October 12 months amongst bunches of cattle. Stored on silage only. Out to grass in April. All on 3 kg meal from late July to mid September when all comrade cattle killed. Upped to 5 kg until housing a month ago and now up on 10kg with good silage. (Split in two feeds)

    The blacks comrades all graded r=. Yes the red needs another month at least.

    I honestly wouldn’t fatten friesian cattle out of shed unless they came in very warm and forward fleshed off grass.. 5kg high energy meal with good silage and they should be at they’re optimum weight gain.

  • Registered Users Posts: 386 ✭✭ Theheff

    I think you are right & thank you for the advise. They may just end up going to to grass next spring with abit meal also. Time will tell I suppose but I am very happy on how there are doing so far. I would love to up the meal in the new year to shove them on but it's a big cost specialy when I have never winter finished Friesian Bullocks. But I suppose if you want results you need to do it. I will see in the new year.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 1,640 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Albert Johnson

    What sort of land type are you working with is my first counter question?

    If I had fair quality dry land to work with then I'd be recommending a good type CHx or LMx yearling bullock. Yes they'll be hard enough on the pocket the first day but you'll always have something saleable afterwards. The right one will do a good thrive over the summer and there's always sale for quality continental cattle in the autumn no matter what the trade is like.

    However if you have more marginal land to work with then it's a different ball game imo. If you're steadfast on grass as you're only fodder source from purchase to sale then you'll need something a bit more rugged than a continental. A proper type AAx or HEx bullock or preferably a heifer would stand more of a chance of living rather than just existing in such a scenario. You'll want something that can thrive over the summer and be a reasonable forward store come sale time. With heifers they might even be fat or atleast fleshy in the autumn if you bought the right sorts.

    Tb is going to be you're biggest issue in a trading system depending on returning to the live ring. It's not an issue until it becomes an issue but it's something to bear in mind. Ultimately you're not going to become rich off any of the options available but it would be nice to keep the grass ate, draw the sub and still have something out of the stock themselves. You want to be selling a better animal than what you bought, if you start off with a decent type of any colour and keep the kilos piling on then you'll most likely do OK.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭ CloughCasey1

    Why don't you try half red/golden chx/lmx 400kg and half off colour suckler bred cattle from same breeds. There will be competition from the ringside for the first half. Not so much for the second half. If you put 200kg on their back and have 600kg animals by autumn then it will be finishers that will be buying. They will have a little less heed in colour and more heed in weight and confirmation at that stage. Your reds/oranges will bring bigger prices but will they leave the same margin?

  • Registered Users Posts: 849 ✭✭✭ Easten

    Nothing to be made from Weanlens to stores. Buying in March you'll feed them for the Summer and sell them for the exact same money you paid for them. Doesn't matter the Breed either, you'll hear how theirs a few bob out of dairy type stock and how they can leave a great margin, well that's only half true because half the time with dairy type stock their is no market for them when you go to sell them in the fall.

    If it were me and I just want to Summer graze and make a few bob with a safety exit I'd be buying a few cull Suckler cows in Feb/March. Stick a cheap AI straw into them as they come bulling in May. By Oct/Nov they should be factory fit provided you are not overgrazing. It's a safe system as it doesn't matter if they go down with TB your still sending to the factory so you are not caught with stock for the winter

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭ Jjameson

    Taking this year as a rough reference from a few characters I know..

    Bought a few good hairy big for weight continental (this detail proved very important ). Payed let’s 2.60 a kg roughly 330 to 350 kg €850 to €900. Graze till October. Back out to market 500+ kg. 2.30 a kg avg. (Don’t let Bass Codd you with less)

    €1150 to €1300. €300ish gross margin

    friesians 330 kg my man paid 670 in April, back in Mart mid November 460 kg(very empty bellies) €760.

    €100 margin and to add insult to injury a belligerent buyer looking for a luck penny!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭ Hard Knocks

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 1,640 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Albert Johnson

    The continentals are a prime example of the summer grazing system I'd be advocating. Buying reasonable value and piling on the kilos afterwards to have a saleable animal in the backend. Overall a good performance but nothing impossible to achieve 9 times out of 10.

    I'd have very little knowledge of Friesians which may become apparent in the following musings. Is €2 a kg not a bit excessive for a light black and white bullock even at the height of spring led "grass fever"? I'd have been expecting them to be coming in at sub €600 to be any great value. A small touch more would buy a middling suckler bred beast most springs and you'd better buying imo. Also he bought a light type long keep bullock and he sold a long keep bullock at a worse time of year.

    You need to be selling a better class of animal than you're buying imo. Unless you're getting them very cheap the first day it rarely pays to let them stall. The first example was buying a hungry beast and getting good compensatory growth and overall thrive which is what puts the scales down come sale time. The second one seemed to me to be buying a well done animal, giving them a middling do and selling them looking there worst facing into another long winter, there autumn 2022 type cattle.