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Costs and Returns in Raising Male Calves from Smallholder Dairy Farms for Beef Production

  • Buaphun, S. (Kasetsart University) ;
  • Skunmun, P. (Kasetsart University) ;
  • Prasanpanich, S. (Kasetsart University) ;
  • Buathong, N. (Kasetsart University) ;
  • Chantalakhana, C. (Kasetsart University)
  • Received : 1999.06.30
  • Accepted : 1999.09.15
  • Published : 2000.10.01

Abstract

The use of the dairy male calf for beef production has been found to be economically unprofitable during the past due to high cost of feeds and relatively low beef price. However, due to current shortage of domestic beef supply and rising beef price, this research aimed to assess feeding methods and costs and returns in raising dairy male calves for beef production under changing economic conditions. Two diets were compared: calves on an optimal feeding level were given milk replacer for 44 d and a concentrate (with ad lib. hay) to 150 kg bodyweight that contained 16% crude protein; those given a sub-optimal diet, more appropriate for smallholder farms, received milk replacer for 30 d and 14% CP concentrate. Twelve pairs of dairy male calves (average age 32 days) of Holstein-Friesian high grades were used, each pair having similar influencing factors such as weight, age, and genotype. Each animal was kept in a separate feeding stall until reaching the final weight of 150 kg. The results from this experiment showed that the differences of traits concerning growth performance and feed efficiency of the animals raised under the two feeding regimes were statistically nonsignificant. The optimal group was just slightly better, but the cost of production of the sub-optimal group was 24 percent lower (4,667 vs. 6,144 baht per animal) and the cost difference was highly significant. The results from this investigation showed that beef production from dairy male calves can be economically viable when sub-optimal feeding method is used and market beef price is at current level.

Keywords

Smallholder Dairy Farming;Male Calves;Beef Production;Cost and Return;Optimal Feeding;Sub-Optimal Feeding

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Thailand Research fund (TRF)