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ForFarmers help fuel award winning Limousins

Sector News Sector News14-5-2020

Balancing the demands of off-farm work alongside those of any livestock enterprise is always a challenge, but for pedigree Limousin owner, Chris White, these challenges have not prevented him from producing excellent quality breeding stock, or from winning a host of top-level breed awards.

Chris established Frogmore Limousins in 2011 and has established a small, but highly successful Gloucester-based pedigree herd. “The focus is on breeding a small number of high-quality breeding stock, with just a few surplus bulls that might not meet our high standards being sold on as fatstock,” explains Chris.

Frogmore Limousins Herd

“As well as the farm, I run a farm management consultancy business, contract farm a dairy herd and run a milk brokerage business. The whole system is therefore set up to be as simple and efficient as possible so that I can do the majority of the work myself, in-between my other commitments. For smaller scale beef producers, this approach is probably going to become more common in the future, but it is one that needn’t prevent farmers from producing excellent quality livestock.” 

Breeding

Chris White

This year, in addition to his breeding cows that have been inseminated conventionally using AI, Chris has seven recipients due to calve that are carrying embryos flushed from his best cows.

“We carry out genomic and DNA testing to help guide our breeding decisions and ensure that we are encouraging the most beneficial traits into the livestock we produce – be that bulls or heifers,” continues Chris. “AI is the most practical approach for us, as it means that we don’t have to keep a stock bull on the farm and that we can pick and choose the best semen on the market, to meet our breeding objectives. 

“We flush our top performing cows for embryos, and then use some of these on recipient heifers in the same year and freeze the rest for use another year. When it comes to flushing, everything needs to be as controlled as possible, so we tend to wait for cows to be housed in order to give us complete control over their nutrition and feed intakes. Getting the best quality embryos is vital if we are to then produce quality youngstock.” 

Grazing

Chris has 120 acres of land to utilise, a proportion which is put down to grass and used as part of a paddock system so that he can rotationally graze his cattle and maximise weight gains from grazed grass.

“We like to have the cattle out on grass as soon as possible and usually aim to turn out in the second week of March and keep them out until October,” says Chris. “The paddocks are all kept quite small on purpose, as we have small groups of cattle and want to make sure that each animal utilises as much grass as possible from a given area.”

Feeding regime

Beef eating Levucell nuts

Chris is responsible for feeding cattle in amongst his other work commitments, so the feeding regime is kept as simple as possible.

“When calves are at grass, they will be creep fed on VITA Start and later with the Prime Beef Grower + Levucell nut at a rate of around 1.5kg a head, per day, to supplement the milk that they will be getting from their mothers and ensure good, early growth gains.” 

Chris has been using ForFarmers feed since 2011 and has been happy with the condition of cattle and weight gains that have been achieved.

“I look back at the calves that were born last year and reared on, assuming a starting weight of 45kg, the heifers alone have achieved average growth rates of 1.42kg a day up until 200 days and 1.39kg up to 300 days. The bull we have hit 1.87kg a day up to 200 days and 1.92kg at the 300-day mark.”
 

Weights taken from heifers and bulls, Frogmore.

Frogmore herd

The reputation of the Frogmore herd has grown and grown over recent years, with Chris picking up a host of top awards. Surplus livestock are sold at specialist pedigree sales, and last year Chris picked up the overall champion award at Melton Mowbray with Frogmore Nevada and in 2020, reserve champion senior bull at Carlisle with Frogmore Othello.

In 2015 Frogmore Helen won the supreme overall interbreed champion at the Royal Welsh Show, as well as being part of the winning interbreed pairs and group of five award.

For more information

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