Talking suckler coos in Orkney......

Over 80 attended an open day kindly hosted by Stabiliser breeder Alan Corrigall on his farm and then at the local church hall.

The headline presentation in the evening came from Lee Leachman who examined all the elements that make a profitable suckler herd.  Lee’s interactive style got the audience involved in the debate.  The importance of multi trait selection for profit was the recurring theme and the risk of not looking at whole life performance of suckler cows.

Using “volunteers” from the audience Lee explained how easy it is to not truly take into account the feed used to make big animals (using himself as and example!) compared to a lighter weight feed efficient model (in the this case our host Alan!).  Profit, Lee said,  is a cost AND income equation and producers generally only have a chance to influence costs so they should minimise them.

Richard Fuller explained the development of the Stabiliser project in the UK and Duncan Pullar spoke on the importance of moderate cow size and selection for feed efficiency.

Earlier in the afternoon a good crowd gathered at Alan Corrigal’s farm to look at 4 groups of Stabiliser cattle and discuss suckler coo production.

After an introduction by Alan the 80 visitors were split into 4 groups to view cattle in Alana’s excellent buildings.  Earlier heavy rain meant that the planned farm walk had to be changed because the waterlogged fields would not have carried the footfall well.

Alan stood with a group of Spring calving coos and explained his approach to breeding and his desire to get more uniformity into his cow herd,  Duncan Pullar talked about heifer replacements  next to a group of autumn born replacement heifers all produced by AI.  Ursula Taylor was with the impressive group of finishing bulls which had averaged 2kg per day since weaning. Richard Fuller talked about Alan’s two Stabiliser stock bulls and explained what is available through AI.

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