Weighing cattle a new rural growth industry

Weighing cattle is a new rural growth industry.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) already has 18 weighing technicians in place. Last week there were still vacancies in West Cork, North Kerry and possibly mid-Galway.

Technicians are spread throughout the 26 counties.

Demand for the service is generated by the new beef discussion groups set up this year in which one of the tasks is to provide on-farm certified weights to the ICBF.

It is in 2013 and 2014 that widespread uptake of weighing services is expected.

Suckler farmers opting for this beef discussion group task must weigh their calves at between 150 and 250 days of age. This weight is a good indicator of how much milk a calf’s mother had. Cows that are good milkers will pass this trait onto their daughters. The weighing option is a great way to identify poorly performing cows (prime candidates for culling) — or better performing cows from which a replacement heifer should be kept.

The callout charge for the ICBF weighing service is €60, and this covers the first 15 animals weighed. There is a charge of €2.50 per animal for the next 15 weighed and after that, it is €1.25 per animal.

A suckler herd with 25 calves for weighing would therefore be charged €85.

The weights are loaded automatically onto the ICBF database, and the herdowner is given a report showing each weight, average daily gain and a predicted weight at a given date in the future.


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