A comparison of bull beef production from Friesian type and selected Jersey type calves


  • P.D. Muir
  • C.J. Fugle
  • N.B. Smith
  • A.W.A. Ormond




Three on-farm experiments were undertaken to examine the comparative performance of Friesian and selected Jersey x Friesian bulls in intensive bull beef systems. In Experiment 1, Friesian, ¼ Jersey/¾ Friesian and ½ Jersey/½ Friesian bulls were sourced as 4-day-old calves, reared together and farmed commercially through until slaughter at 29 months of age. When slaughtered at the same age, Friesian bulls averaged 290 kg carcass weight, with ¼ Jersey and ½ Jersey bulls averaging 289 and 271 kg, respectively. There was considerable variation in animal performance within the breed types, with the top 50% of the ½ Jersey bulls averaging 553 kg liveweight and the bottom 50% of the Friesian bulls averaging 522 kg at 29 months of age. In Experiment 2, 31 rising 2-year-old Friesian type bulls (436 kg) and 32 rising 2-year-old Jersey x type bulls (423 kg) were each allocated to two lanes of a Technosystem and stocked at 1828 kg liveweight/ha. Between May and November, Friesian type bulls produced 2.5% more beef liveweight per hectare than the Jersey x bulls (816 vs 796 kg of liveweight/ha). In Experiment 3, 43 rising 1-year-old Friesian type (199 kg) and 46 rising 1-year-old Jersey x bulls (185 kg) were each allocated to two lanes of a Technosystem and stocked at 1016 kg liveweight/ ha. Between June and December, Jersey x type bulls produced 1% more liveweight/ha than the Friesian type bulls (1151 vs 1141 kg of liveweight/ ha). The Friesian type bulls outperformed the Jersey x type bulls on a per head basis. Nevertheless there were a number of high performing Jersey x type bulls, suggesting that coat colour is not a suitable means of identifying better or poorer performing bulls. When Friesian type and Jersey x type bulls were stocked at a similar liveweight per hectare, there was little difference in terms of total output of beef per hectare. Since bulls are bought and sold on a liveweight basis, Jersey x type bulls can be as profitable as Friesian type bulls provided the purchase price is discounted to reflect the fact that more of them will be slaughtered in lower paying weight ranges. Our calculations indicate that on present prices, this discount for selected Jersey x type bulls could be as little as $11 per head to offset reductions in carcass value. Current discounts for Jersey x type bulls are well in excess of this and may reflect the difficulties in re-selling Jersey x type bulls and perceived behavioural problems with these bulls. Keywords: bull beef, Friesian, Jersey, per head, per hectare







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