The Harper Adams University modern beef research platform – Beef Grower Finisher System – measures intake of feed and water, greenhouse gas emissions, body weight and feeding behaviour of individual cattle, to assess feed efficiency in growing and finishing animals. The beef unit is based on finishing dairy-bred bull calves from the University’s 390 head dairy herd. The majority of the bulls are Holstein and Continental cross Holsteins. The cattle are finished intensively on either a cereal beef system with concentrates, fed ad lib with straw, or on a silage beef system with restricted quantities of concentrates to slaughter at 13 – 15 months old. Weaned suckled calves are also occasionally purchased for ‘yard finishing’.
Key research expertise
Harper Adams University conducts both strategic and applied research on improving the efficiency of production of farmed animals, with a particular focus on nutrition. The beef unit provides opportunities for trial work to be carried out, including projects for commercial organisations, education and demonstration purposes. The University has also the tenancy of 178 hectares (440 acres) of mixed farmland near Telford. Some of the grassland is used to extensively finish Hereford cross Holstein calves from the dairy unit at 19 – 22 months old.
Improving the profitability and sustainability of beef farming, together with defining best practice for farms in the future. Increasing the efficiency of beef production while reducing environmental impact.
Supporting the Grand Challenges facing livestock food production:
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