BEEF - Adding value to Homegrown Grain for Homebred Cattle

1 Oct 2016

Farmers are continuously looking for ways to improve livestock systems; a simple but effective approach is benefiting Iain and June Robertson from Lower Inchcorsie, Rothiemay, by allowing them to finish the progeny from their 70 head of suckler cows with greater ease and efficiency, making better use of home grown cereals.

Around 60 acres of barley is sown each year on the 300 acre unit. Harvest 2016 has quickly passed as has the Harbro Super Bruiser which has been in to bruise and treat the fourth annual batch of home grown cereal with Maxammon.

Harbro’s Chris Barclay said; “The 120 tonne of grain which has been treated this year was reading around 18-20% moisture, which is ideal for the Maxammon treatment to take place.” Chris advised the change four years ago – for use in feeding the various classes of stock on the farm.


“I introduce calf creep to the spring born calves in early August. The ration consists of 50% sugar beet and 50% Maxammon which I feel helps to reduce stress at weaning for the cow and the calf. The calves also take to the finisher ration better if they have been introduced to creep before.” says Iain.

Once weaned the progeny are then introduced to the TMR of Maxammon barley, silage, straw and Grampian Beef Max mineral + Yea-Sacc + Rumitech. Steers and heifers remain on this ration until they leave the farm at around 18 months. 

Last year’s crop of finished cattle sold direct to Woodhead Bros, Turriff. Steer carcasses had an average weight of 405kg and heifers an average of 375kg. Careful rumen friendly rationing complemented by the use of Grampian Beef Max mineral has resulted in contented cattle which can get on healthily, with feed conversion and growth.

This is aided by Yea-Sacc and Rumitech, carried in the Beef Max mineral. In combination, the two additives which alter the rumen environment and microbial population, make better use of the feed they are given, impacting on reducing days (and feed) required to reach slaughter. On reaching slaughter weight Rumitech increases the killing out percentage by half a percentage point.

Much of the success is of course down to Maxammon where its alkalinity and good processing characteristics make a more rumen friendly cereal. “Reduced cases of acidosis and bloating have also been seen since the move to Maxammon. Iain has also noticed that dung appears healthier, there is no undigested particles passing through the cattle from digestive upset.” comments Chris.

Feeding costs have also reduced, with Iain no longer having to buy in a blend to feed alongside his barley, previously rolled and acid treated. It is not only the youngstock and finishers which have Maxammon incorporated into their ration. Iain also includes 2kg of Maxammon barley for the cows ration when they are first housed in autumn along with 120g of Grampian Super Suckler powdered mineral.

Very much a family affair, Iain and June’s three daughters Gillian, Anna and Margot all help out when required with Anna recently establishing her own Charolais herd. The herd was founded five years ago with an in calf heifer bought with the money Anna received for her 21st birthday. “I now have seven females, ranging from six months upwards and one young bull, Inchcorsie Ludo.” says Anna.

The rumen friendly concept continues with the pedigree cattle benefiting from Harbro’s High Voltage, a highly digestible and rumen friendly compound designed to be incorporated in home mixes. The manufacturing process roughly grinds the ingredients and these large particles provide ‘scratch factor’ in the rumen helping to stimulate rumination and improve rumen function. This in turn, helps improve intakes, increase fibre digestion and reduce the risk of acidosis and laminitis. Inchcorsie Ludo will be put forward for sale at this year’s Aberdeen Christmas Classic at ANM, Thainstone, where Anna had previous success in 2014, when she stood overall champion with her first home bred bull, Inchcorsie Iceman.

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