Theme 3: Livestock--Oral Sessions

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While around two thirds the Norwegian beef is produced on dairy cow farms, meat production on specialized beef farms has increased in recent years. The specialized beef industry consists of suckler cow herds producing calves, and farm operations that purchase weaned calves for fattening. A linear programming (LP) model of suckler cow herds, selling weaned calves at 200 days, was developed to study the influence of certain management strategies on profitability. The data were derived from the records of 31 suckler cow herds from three Norwegian regions. The feed costs for silage (roughly half of the feed), NH3-treated straw, concentrate and farm and range pastures were calculated and used as model input. In the model pasture could account for as much as half of the annual feed intake with spring calving on small British breeds and 30% with autumn calving on large continental breeds. In region 1 and 2 in south Norway, late harvesting of roughages and using NH3 treated straw was advantageous compared to earlier harvesting and less concentrates. The growth rate of calves was demonstrated to be an important parameter for the economy in both British and continental breeds. Shortening age at first calving to 2 years, and the calving interval to 12 months was profitable but the gains were small. Similarly, the front-end loading concept with 2/3 of the calves after the first ovulation period, and the remaining in the next, was profitable compared to a similar number (1/3) in three subsequent periods. The economics of a high or low replacement rate was also examined.

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Management Strategies for Enhanced Beef Production on Suckler Cow Farms

While around two thirds the Norwegian beef is produced on dairy cow farms, meat production on specialized beef farms has increased in recent years. The specialized beef industry consists of suckler cow herds producing calves, and farm operations that purchase weaned calves for fattening. A linear programming (LP) model of suckler cow herds, selling weaned calves at 200 days, was developed to study the influence of certain management strategies on profitability. The data were derived from the records of 31 suckler cow herds from three Norwegian regions. The feed costs for silage (roughly half of the feed), NH3-treated straw, concentrate and farm and range pastures were calculated and used as model input. In the model pasture could account for as much as half of the annual feed intake with spring calving on small British breeds and 30% with autumn calving on large continental breeds. In region 1 and 2 in south Norway, late harvesting of roughages and using NH3 treated straw was advantageous compared to earlier harvesting and less concentrates. The growth rate of calves was demonstrated to be an important parameter for the economy in both British and continental breeds. Shortening age at first calving to 2 years, and the calving interval to 12 months was profitable but the gains were small. Similarly, the front-end loading concept with 2/3 of the calves after the first ovulation period, and the remaining in the next, was profitable compared to a similar number (1/3) in three subsequent periods. The economics of a high or low replacement rate was also examined.