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Allan Barber reports on work within some key innovative partnerships

Dairy farming company Southern Pastures recognises the importance of managing its business with careful consideration for animal welfare, environmental footprint, and productivity.

The company is working closely with LIC and Rissington to identify the right beef genetics in combination with technologies such as sexed semen and whole herd mating to AI. This will result in fewer bulls needed for natural service on farm with gains in animal welfare, GHGs and human safety.

In the past 5-10% of calves have been targeted for beef production, but the intention is to increase this proportion to 50% or more, focusing on the animals which exhibit the best traits for marbling, pH, muscle development and fast growth. The objective is to achieve greater efficiencies, reduce GHGs, and channel all calves born towards the outcome best suited for a productive life. Ideally the end result will be an improvement in feed conversion for both the dairy and beef industries.

Southern Pastures applies a strong partnership approach to its business which will be an essential feature of its dairy beef raising ambitions. Rissington’s Profit Maker bull semen and service bulls will produce 750 beef calves over non-dairy replacements in the spring, of which the company will put half with calf rearers and keep half to rear and finish on its farms, so it can measure the herd performance in combination with Rissington and LIC. This is likely to be the case for at least two breeding seasons, while a viable pathway for the dairy beef business is established.

This initiative is still in its early stages and there are several moving parts which must be coordinated – beef trait heritability, feed conversion efficiency, an effective supply chain from rearing to finishing, integrating a beef breeding operation into a dairy business, and no doubt others. But credit must go to the partners in this venture for tackling a difficult intersection of the beef and dairy sectors where each side has much to gain from a constructive outcome.

Read Full Article: edairynews