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Improve performance with creep feeding

Advice from our specialist Advice from our specialist12-3-2018

Creep-fed calves from spring-calving suckler cows will convert feed to liveweight (LW) more efficiently than at any other time in their life. This makes creep feeding a very cost effective way to maximise weaning weights.

"Creep feeding can increase weight gain by 25kg per animal as well as reducing weaning check, due to less stress as it familiarises the calf to a different feed. It can also help improve body condition scores (BCS) if cattle are in poor condition and reduce the risk of pneumonia after housing," explains Katherine.

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Creep feeding improves body condition, increases weight gain and can reduce pneumonia risks.
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ForFarmers has three products in their creep range: Super Grower 16, Prime Beef Grower and Super Rearer 18

When to start creep feeding

Timing of creep feeding will depend on calf age, growth potential and grass availability, but should normally start six to ten weeks before weaning. In cases where it’s hard to start creep feeding or with very milky cows, starting to creep feed four to six weeks before weaning will still help reduce the weaning check.

Trial results

In a recent trial, 51 pedigree Limousin cattle were split ​ into two groups and fed two different creep feeding ​ products. One group of 36 animals were fed ForFarmers Super Grower 16, the remaining 15 cattle were fed a ​competitor creep feed. The cattle, who were all creep fed from two months old onwards, received 5.3kg per head.

There was a 0.1kg difference in DLWG in the group fed ForFarmers Super Grower 16. ​

  • 0.1 x 36 animals (as per the test group) = 3.6kg extra ​ LWG/day. ​
  • 3.6 x 29 (number of days in the trial) = 104.4kg extra ​ LWG. ​
  • With a 60% killing out percentage (KOP) = 62.64kg ​ meat deadweight ​
  • 62.64kg x 35.5p = £222.37 extra income ​
  • Over a 180-day winter = £1380.24 extra value. ​
  • There was also a noticeable difference in the coat ​ health and brighter eyes in the cattle.

ForFarmers creep feed range

ForFarmers have three products in the creep feed range, each one designed to meet different farm systems:

  • Super Grower 16
  • Prime Beef Grower + Levucell
  • Super Rearer 18

Katherine Muirhead, ForFarmers Beef Specialist, works within the technical team, providing technical support to Account Managers across the whole of the South West and Wales. For more information or to contact Katherine Muirhead, get in touch via the Contact page.