NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: 26 acre suckler beef plan  (Read 5122 times)

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
26 acre suckler beef plan
« on: July 03, 2012, 04:32:25 pm »
I know I just put about the dexters, but I am trying to work out a plan and need some ideas.

The land I am thinking about using for beef consists of two 13 acre fields.

My idea was this:

Use one field as summer grazing (strip grazed) and one field as winter grazing also strip grazed.

Whilst the cows are moved into the summer grazing in the spring, the winter grazing is grown up and harvested for haylage over the summer. The haylage is used for the ewes on separate land plus for the cattle.

So I am looking for a small friendly breed, would be nice to have a rare breed, so I will look at shetlands as being a possibility.

Grazing is 13 acres and strip grazed across but also have another 13 acres for the cattle when its not being used for haylage in the spring/summer months. So basicly have 26 acres for my beef herd.

How many cattle do you think would suit this system? I would use genus AI to cover the cows so no bull requirement. I was thinking ten cows? mostly being used for beef but would be nice to also cover some with pedigree ai

thanks

Jess
Voss Electric Fence

Deere

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Peak District
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2012, 05:49:28 pm »
Hi,

It all depends on your grass variety, soil, location etc as they will be a big factor in how and when your grass grows.

The other thing to factor in is whether you were going to fatten the calves in a separate shed or field after weaning?

We have dexters and aim to grass finish them with just a supplement of silage in the winter and it usually means we keep them until they are 28 months.

If you were to do this you have to remember that for each cow you have on your land you could have two of its calves (one at nearly finished an the other a year younger).

Up here on the Derbyshire hills we can have 90 head of dexter cattle (cows, bull and 2 years worth of calves), 95 lleyn sheep and thier lambs and also 22 acres set aside for making silage for winter feeding.

It's a squeeze but it's doable!

Sounds like your going in the right direction though,

Good luck!

Tim
Pedigree Ryelands, Charolais cross Mules

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 07:12:48 pm »
Thanks for your reply :)

I was hoping it could go like this

field A Cows graze from october to march

cows are then moved to field B in march whilst field A is growing up for haylage

cows give birth in april and stay in field B (strip grazed) until the calves are 6 months old

cows are moved back into field A in october (after letting it grow back from the haylage) but leaving the 6 month old calves behind who can help keep the grass down over winter.

In March the cows get moved down to give birth again and then got to figure out where to move the year old calves... they can either go into sheds and live on haylage for 6 months before joining the 6 month olds for 6 months or they could share fields with the sheep for 6 months.

Sounds like you have a full house!! what is your stocking rate for sheep? because im wandering whether to steal some of the sheeps grazing for the beef

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 09:29:29 pm »
You might want to think about parasite control in that system. Maybe consider using the sheep to provide inter-species grazing to reduce worm burdens? You'd have calves on the same ground for 12 months which probably isn't a good idea. You would probably be better putting your calves on to your aftermath grazing

Also how wet is your land - if it's wet, the field could get quite poached over winter which would affect you grass regrowth in the spring. Shetlands will outwinter with shelter and hay and are quite light on the ground but a herd will cut up wet soil.

If you are finishing the steers, you'll probably have them to 28 months, so in the third summer, you'll have cows, calves, yearlings and two year olds. Doesn't take long for the numbers to build up  ;D

But I'm no expert - I'm going through teh same permutations as you, but we only have 10 acres of grazing.


Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 10:20:30 pm »
The land is sloping and well drained, was used last for intensive dairy.

The fields will be strip grazed so Im pretty sure this would help with the worm burden, also they would be finished at 24 months, using a fast growing beef sire, not pedigree shetland or dexter or whatever I chose in the end to use. Although I am looking more to the shetlands at the moment.

I need to think up a system/field rotation with the sheep and cattle, will continue racking my brains tonight!

Im thinking maybe starting with 8 cows and see how it goes, only problem with shetlands is, not sure I can get 8 cows all from one place!

Factotum

  • Joined Jun 2012
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2012, 10:28:14 pm »
Make contact with the SCBA - they have regional reps who will know who has stock for sale. The website has a 'for sale' page too.

See:http://www.shetlandcattle.org.uk/cattle-market

Good luck, and please feel free to ask qns - we have a small herd of Shetlands - hopefully it will get bigger next year as we have just moved Collafirth Viking onto the holding for his second visit. He has 9 girls to make happy this year.  :innocent:

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2012, 09:23:19 am »
Thankyou  :wave:

I sent them an email and will see how it goes :)

I have been told to reduce the herd size I was planning, in order to increase on sheep, so that probly makes things easier anyway

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2012, 06:19:40 pm »

I sent them an email and will see how it goes :)

Barry Allen, the SCBA Secretary, who gets the emails via the website has been flooded out so he may take a wee while to get back to you, but he will.

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 09:21:17 am »
Ok thanks Rosemary  :wave:

shropshire_blue

  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Dorset BH21
    • Making Life Exciting Again...
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 11:15:26 pm »
Worth looking at Cogent as well as Genus...

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 03:30:17 pm »
Thanks shropshire_blue, will look them up :)  :wave:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: 26 acre suckler beef plan
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2012, 06:53:26 pm »
Genus holds Shetland semen for RBST. There's six bulls I think and a new one beind added soon.

 

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