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Stabiliser Cattle

  • 04-03-2023 8:06pm
    Registered Users Posts: 120 ✭✭

    Has anyone any first hand experience of Stabiliser cattle and finishing them? Are they hard to source in the South East? They seem popular in NI. They seem to be ideal for U16mth Bull beef and have lots of positives such as easy calving, low maintenance etc


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,040 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    They are popular in NI as one of the main multipliers (official breeders) is from up there in Antrim. To source them in South East I'm not sure, but there is someone in Tipp who is the sole multiplier in Ireland. A lot of folk would go up to the multiplier in Antrim as he is also the NI & Ireland sales consultant. Very knowledgeable man with an impressive setup.

    We have some of them here. Calving jack has never been used since we started with them. Calves are very bright and up quickly. We do feed the cows plenty of pre-calver minerals so that will have an effect too. Can't say much about birth weight as we don't weigh them. At a guess I'd say most were low to mid 40kgs. They are naturally polled so no dehorning which is another saving.

    The aim is to have the cows around the 600kg - 650kg mark. The bulls can be expensive for a good one. You can get them genetic tested so see what you are getting, but best to speak with one of the multipliers to find out more about that. There is a pricing scheme in place which for cows increases on their purity. 1st cross cheapest, 5th cross (pure) being most expensive. Then there is something additional to pay if they are in calf. Bulls price increase on where they stand in rank. Top 1% most expensive, then top 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% etc are the steps. Cows cross well with other breeds too. Some would cross with a CH bull for 3rd calving onwards, but from listening to a talk on them many prefer to stay ST on ST to benefit from all the breed characteristics.

    For finishing we had one that we kept intact (was too strong to squeeze) which was hitting 650kg at 13 months - despite a couple of setbacks - fell on slats and hurt himself. Would probably have been closer to 675/700kg mark. He was out of an AI bull.

    This year we have them all castrated as we were going to finish them as steers off grass. They are progressing to plan, but could have been better if our silage was a bit better. But as prices as good at the minute we might just cash in at this stage in case the bubble bursts. They are quite docile to work with - although how you handle the animals will have an impact on the docility too.

    The Stabiliser company do feed efficiency trials and measure how well they convert. Not sure if any other breed does this. However, how much this will have an impact on you will be based on what bull you go for. We are switching to AI as have only a small number of cows and a good bull would be wasted on a small number and not really feasible.

    There does seem to be some strains that have a temper around calving time based on what I've read on other forums. But regardless of breed you should be culling them anyway. They are a lot hardier than the dairy cross we normally have and hold their condition well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 120 ✭✭Farm365

    Thanks for the detailed reply. I am similar nearly all my cows are dairy cross and very hard to keep condition on them and get them back in calf. At present I sell as weanlings but Thinking of moving to finishing my own to maximise (any) profit. What kind of lad do you run yours on? My land is good but wouldn’t be considered fattening land. Stabilisers seem to do well on marginal land. Would it be common to get the bulls to 650kgs at 13mths? How much stabiliser was in him?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,040 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    That bull was pure. He had a really good AI bull as his father - Cernogie Bach Stan the Man. In saying that the bull just clicked with the cow. If you have a good bull then you should be getting near 650kg at 13 - 14 months. He would not have seen meal until housing and would have been getting from memory about 2kg 16% blend daily. I'm not sure but I might have introduced alfalfa close to sale time to tighten him up.

    Our land would be a mixture of fairly decent grazing and some rougher grazing. We calf late - April go the calves would only be getting stuck into grass later in season. Our silage wouldn't be the greatest as the fields are tired and need rejuvenated. Also we would have cut late so would have stemmy grass in the bales.

    Stabilisers have small calves (there are a few bulls recommended only for cows) so the reduced stress of calving does help them get back into calf.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,040 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    I should also say that they won't have the look nor the style of a good continental beast.

    They have their haters too - which is fine. Everyone has their likes and dislikes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 772 ✭✭✭Cattlepen

    Had them. They’re grand. No different than a red angus as a beast but there is a bonus on angus…… none on stabiliser! Stabilisers wont save the beef industry no matter what spin leachman or the man in Antrim tells you. He would sell ice to eskimos and would have you mesmerised with stats and figures. Had two bulls from him and both went bad on the feet genetically

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If they were that good then why aren’t they everywhere? They have been around since the 70s. On investigation you see that they don’t grade that well, can be a mix of any breeds and early finish is overhyped.

    A lot to be said for a good quality Angus or easy calving continental like a limo.

    You can even get polled Charlaois if the disbudding is annoying.

  • Registered Users Posts: 120 ✭✭Farm365

    Thanks Barktastic what kind of land do you run yours on and what kind of system do you aim for? Is there information available re poor grading or was that your personal experience with them?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I found a report online and I remember seeing the typical grade. I never had one of them but from what I saw they aren’t the magic bullet