What is Blade Farming?
  • A planned approach to quality beef production
  • A straightforward production system with a clearly defined end market
  • A beef production system with an unprecedented amount of support and backup from key players in the Agricultural industry
  • A successful production chain

Is Blade right for my business?

Blade Farming Open Day: April 2015

Remember first day at big school for an insight to beef rearing secrets

Watch the report on the open day at Home Farm, Somerset, a Blade finishing unit with partners Zoetis and Mole Valley Feed Solutions.

No matter how long ago, many of us will remember how stressful it was moving from the juniors to big school...losing old friends, trying to make new ones, avoiding bullies, different school dinners, alien buildings, etc.

Funnily enough, the same applies to calves when they move between farms to the next stage of the rearing process. This stress is particularly acute when recently weaned calves are moved at three or four months of age.

At a recent demonstration of Blade Farming's beef finishing business system - designed for lifelong good health, high performance and farm profits - farmers heard how this stress can be minimised, first from James Jackson of Mole Valley Farmer's red meat team.

Diet and Nutrition

"A gradual changeover from one diet to the next will greatly reduce the nutritional causes of stress," he said. " You should allow at least three weeks for this."

For at least the first week and ideally two on the new unit, James advised that calves should be on the same feeds as before they moved. On the Blade system, this would be ad lib rearing pellets and straw.

At the start of week three, silage can be introduced and the rearing pellets gradually reduced to 3kg/head. Then at the end of week three, a gradual change can then be made from rearing pellets to 16% protein grower nuts.

Thereafter, the amount of concentrates should be adjusted to achieve the target growth rate in conjunction with weighing regularly. On the Blade system for Angus crosses, the target is in the range 0.85-1.0kg/day to reach 550kg finished weight at 19 months of age to produce the system's ideal 270kg carcase.

Health and Vaccination

In addition to nutrition, disease protection - especially against pneumonia - is another significant stress reducer. On all Blade Farming's dedicated rearing units, calves get an intranasal pneumonia vaccine on arrival against the two viruses most commonly associated with pneumonia in very young calves, RSV and PI3.

Then, shortly before they leave the rearing unit, calves undergo a further two-course vaccination against the same two viruses plus BVD and IBR. This is licensed for six months' duration of immunity, thereby protecting calves - and their new owners - from the serious damage caused by a pneumonia outbreak.

The demonstration's hosts were James and Liz Tabor at Home Farm, Sutton Montis, where 300 cattle a year - mostly Angus and some continental crosses - are finished on a Blade Farming 'finisher franchise'. The Blade business continues to expand and is seeking new finishers.

What do I need to become a Blade Farmer?

  • Good quality grazing and forage management
  • The facilities to receive three month old, 100Kg lwt calves, and access to livestock buildings and winter cattle housing
  • Be commercially minded, and have the ability to follow a production system, weigh and record your cattle production and respond to the results
  • Recognised Farm Assurance certification
What do I do next?

Contact the Blade Office on 01458 259 413 or email us at info@blade-farming.com

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