Wednesday 23 September 2020Duynie Feeds for a Successful Beef Operation

Dedicated beef farmers know a thing or two about choosing the right stock and establishing an operation that makes the most of their land. In Yorkshire, the Grant family backs up its farming expertise with Duynie feeds to produce top-notch beef animals.

Set between the North York moors to the north and the Humber Estuary to the south, the Grant family farm enjoys a well-connected position. A total of 1000 acres falls under the Grant’s stewardship – 260 owned and 740 rented – but this isn’t an isolated spot. A five-minute hop takes you to the M62 and puts Manchester in your sights.

The Grants took on the farm in 1962 and the current generation of sons now plays its part in the running of the beef operation. It’s a traditional set-up that plays well to the flat terrain and good grass-growing land that the farm encompasses. With wetlands nearby, it’s no surprise that some spots are acidic and there’s carr land (which is waterlogged and shrubby) to contend with.

Best Yorkshire beef

By running their own suckler herd and buying in youngstock to finish, the Grant family maintains a constant throughput of animals. Simmental and Limousin bulls serve the suckler cows and the resulting calves stay on the farm until they’re finished.

Additional stock – both Friesian or Continental calves and older finishers of various breeds – are brought on from one local farm or through livestock markets in the region. The aim is to take the sucklers and stores to 600kg liveweight and the Friesians to 320kg deadweight at 20 to 24 months. Dunbia at Carnaby takes the finished fats, while bulls head to market.

Looking to the future

With 1000 acres to manage, the Grants aim to keep 500 animals on the farm at all times. Currently 360 heifers, steers and bulls are sent to slaughter throughout the year and the intention is to increase this number and gradually grow the fattening herd. Annually, around 10 homebred heifers are kept to enter the suckler herd.  

Choosing Duynie co-product feeds

Traditionally, all of the farm’s livestock was fed barley, grass silage or hay and protein pellets. But seeing competitive prices and observing that cattle flourish on moist blends, the Grants made the switch to Duynie feeds. Happily, these complement the good ground the farm has for growing maize.

In selecting the best feed, the priorities were getting the right levels of protein for the growers and ensuring enough starch was included to take the finishers to their ideal weights. Having fed Duynie Boost Mix in the past, brewer’s grains and cooked potato chips are now the mainstay, with potato mash fed intermittently.

Homegrown companion feeds include lucerne, wheat, maize silage and grass silage. When the maize runs out, pea straw and hay are substituted in.

The Duynie ration is stored simply heaped on a concrete yard and the ration is mixed in a Tarrup Siloking wagon. This newly bought piece of kit represents a worthwhile investment to the farm and has changed their feed system completely, substantially reducing feeding times.

The impact of feeding Duynie

After an easy transition from the old ration to the new, a steady improvement in the cattle was observed. Outwardly, they look better, with noticeably shiny coats. More time is spent cudding and, as the ration is palatable and satisfying, uptake is enthusiastic and the herd is calmer in the shed and more content overall.

Importantly, daily live-weight gains – the measure of the success of any feed regime – have steadily increased. That means the Grants are seeing enviable daily gains of 1.8kg on their best cattle and a handy average of 1.5kg across the board.

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