Read all about it … Stabiliser in the News!
It’s been a busy few months here at the Stabiliser Cattle Company, not least because in September, we hosted American ranching legend Lee Leachman who toured some of our Stabiliser multipliers in Scotland and the north of England.
For the few who don’t know, Lee is the CEO of the Leachman Cattle Company of Colorado and is the third largest seedstock breeder in the US. He has also done more than anyone else worldwide to develop the Stabiliser breed, creating the ultimate suckler cow that optimises efficiency and profitability for commercial beef producers.
Understandably, Lee was in demand by the British agricultural media during his visit and undertook a number of interviews with top tier titles. Here is a synopsis of the coverage that followed his visit:
Lee was interviewed by Alex Black, business reporter of the Farmers Guardian. In this interview, Lee discussed how the functionality of the cow is the key driver of profitability in the suckler herd in both the US and UK, and that this should not get lost in the drive for muscle and growth.
He said selecting continuously for growth and muscle would have a detrimental effect on cow functionality, creating cows which were harder to breed and harder to calve if maternal traits are not prioritised.
To read the full interview, click here.
In a fantastic article by Olivia Cooper of British Dairying, Lee discussed how the use of Stabiliser bulls on British dairy cows can maximise returns for the dairy-bred beef sector.
Lee recounted his experiences from the US, explaining that when used on Jerseys, the calves finished in just 18 – 19 months old, with steers finishing at 667kg and heifers 644kg liveweight. With Holsteins, the calves finished at 15 – 16 months, Lee said, averaging the same weight as the Jerseys.
He said Stabilisers delivered for the dairy farmer, beef finisher, and the processor.
You can read the full article here (you must be a subscriber to read the online version of the publication).
As Lee’s travels took him north of the border, it was no surprise he was also in demand by the Scottish agricultural media.
Speaking to the Scottish Farmer’s northern reporter, John Sleigh, Lee said the UK beef sector needs to prioritise eating quality over yield and put a ‘quality grid’ in place.
He advised the UK sector to produce better marbled beef for ensure greater customer satisfaction.
Lee said: “Marbled beef is getting a real premium in the US. Higher than any other time in history. Global and domestic demand for good beef is through the roof. A steer hitting the top ‘prime’ marbled grade is getting $2500 compared to $2000 for a less marbled animal.”
To read more of Lee’s thoughts on quality in the UK beef sector, click here.
Farming UK reported Lee’s thoughts that the Stabiliser should be the standard suckler cow in the UK to help British beef producers meet future challenges, adding that the breed was the ‘best kept secret in temperate areas’.
Lee said that for the first time, society was demanding that cattle are productive while at the same time delivering for sustainability and the environment.
Hybrid genetics, on which the Stabiliser is based, is a game changer when it comes to optimising production, Lee advised.
You can read the full article here.
Lee also spoke to the Cumberland News farming editor, Maureen Hodges, as one of the farm visits took place in Cumbria, on the farm of A Dixon & Son, at Kitcrag, Selside, Cumbria.
Lee spoke about how hybrid genetics in beef production suited the UK well.
“Britain has particular requirements,” he told Maureen.
“Running cows on grass, overwintering them inside, feeding them low quality forage and still trying to produce shapely cattle. The best way to do that is by producing hybrid cows.
“Stabilisers thrive here. They produce well over a 95% calving rate so anything that does that must thrive.
“The shoe fits. Everyone breeds cows for different reasons, but if you looking at data and trying to make money, then hybrid genetics are the way forward.”
The full article can be found in the Friday, September 30th, edition of the newspaper.
Farmers Weekly Podcast
As well as speaking to the UK agriculture print and online media, Lee also did an interview with Hugo Broom for the Farmers Weekly podcast, where again he promoted the benefits of hybrid genetics for the UK beef sector.
The interview is yet to be broadcast as it took place shortly before the sad death of Queen Elizabeth II and the podcast it was schedule to be on was rightly given over entirely to the late Queen’s devotion for British farming and the country way of life.
However, do keep an ear out as we are assured the interview will run in the future.
You can find the Farmers Weekly podcast here.
We are trying to produce beef that meets market specification and make the most profit possible. Using Stabilisers we are achieving our objectives, we have a low cost, low labour cow and good quality finishing cattle that meet the needs of the market.- Mel and Pete Momber, Hampshire
I’m excited by the prospects the Stabiliser can deliver for us. The proof was there based on scientific research, backed up by a large gene pool and precise management systems. It seemed the perfect breed for our farming system.- Will Evans, Machynlleth
On weaning in May at 10 mths old the Stabiliser calves were on par with the Blue and Angus calves. These were turned out to grass until early September then housed. This is when I was surprised by the differences between the breeds, the Angus averaged 480kg, the Blues 490kg but the Stabilisers were 530kg.- Robin Talbot, Laois – Ireland
In 2011 we bought 46 Stabiliser heifers plus 3 bulls and sold our 3 Belgium Blue bulls. The results were clear to see, by the time we pregnancy tested our 100 cows later that year. We went from historically having 15% barren cows to only 3% barren in a 9 week mating period.- Jeremy Iles, Gloucester
I have found Stabiliser cows to be very forage efficient. Their ability to put weight on in the summer months means I can save on winter feed costs. This has allowed me to keep more cows on the same resources.- Jono Cole, Cornwall
We have an easy-care system that is as profitable as any other beef enterprise. We benchmark our herd against the AHDB industry figure and we sit comfortably ahead of the top third performers. I believe we are now producing a carcass with the conformation and eating quality consistency that the market wants.- Dan Burling, Cambridgeshire
Docility, feed efficiency tested, easy calving, hybrid vigour, fertility, growth AND carcass traits from highly maternal cattle, what’s not like?- Robin Norrie, Fife
We aim to get most out of grass as possible. The hardy nature of the cattle seems to suit this system very well. Hardly any assistance is required during calving, combined with the excellent calf vigour produce healthy and strong calves which further reduces labour costs.- Llion and Sian Jones, Conwy
We’re over 10 years into our Stabiliser journey, we’re reaping the rewards. Moving to the Stabiliser has been a game changer for efficiency and job satisfaction, allowing us to increase cow numbers on the same area and finishing bulls averaging over 380kgs at 13 months. Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner!- Peter and Jackie Storrow, Pembrokeshire
Stabiliser cattle are a specialised suckler beef breed with the added bonus of hybrid vigour. The cattle are multi-trait performance recorded to produce EBV’s, this has a huge positive economical effect on our business. All of this is crucial for us to have a financially improving suckler herd on the farm.- Harri Parri, Llyn Peninsula
We chose the Stabiliser breed for their docility and easy calving traits, but with the added benefit of turning grass into meat. We soon saw all of these traits were true. Our first home bred steers were finished off grass at an average age of 19 months.- Dyfed Roberts, Anglesey
Despite our rainfall, we outwinter our cows on kale, the stabiliser cow will lay down excess fat, and successfully rear her calf. During the winter considerable cost savings are made. By changing to Stabiliser cattle I keep approximately 50% more cows as they only weigh 650Kgs, which meant more beef being produced.- Matthew Cooke, North Devon
We started using Stabiliser bulls 20 years ago. The fertility of the breed has enabled us to calve our own heifers at 24 months and reduce our calving period to nine weeks. This together with their good temperament has encouraged us to increase cow numbers. Consequently, the farm is now producing a lot more kilos of beef.- Edward and Ellis Griffith, Pwllheli
Minimal labour is required at calving time, with easy calving cows and calves up and suckling in no time at all. This gave us the ability to increase our cow numbers with no extra labour. The growth rate of Stabiliser cattle is exceptional, producing high weaning weights whilst converting feed efficiently.- John and Ianto Pari, Gwynedd
We started using stabiliser genetics in 2016, we have not looked back since, they exceeded all our expectations. Changing to stabilisers has enabled us to calve heifers at 2years old with no problems, cows wean a higher percentage of their body weight, we have increased cow numbers without any need for extra labour.- Carys Jones, Camarthenshire