We first got into stabilisers in 2015. We made the change from our previous breed of cattle based on a number of reasons.
The amount of labour was excessive, with assisted calving, having to help every calf suck its colostrum, and a large number of mastitis cases meant I was very limited to what number I was able to manage. Lameness was also a big issue and large teats making it difficult for the calves to suck their milk. The stabiliser cow has been bred to avoid every problem known. They calve unassisted, calves up and suck unassisted within 30 minutes or so, it is also very unusual to get lameness, teats are the correct size and in the right place as well as the cows being very docile.
Our North Devon 80″ rainfall combined with our old breed of cows weighing in the region of one tonne was causing a lot of unnecessary damage to the fields and housing earlier than desired. The large cow was producing large steers which once finished were producing carcass weights between 400 to 480 kg, we were then being penalised at the abattoir for over weight cattle. The stabiliser fits the market specification perfectly, with steers easily fattening, R and U grades, 18 to 20 months old 340kg plus on the hook. By changing to Stabiliser cattle I could keep approximately 50% more cows as they only weigh between 600Kg and 650Kg, which meant more beef being produced at the correct specification for the market so no reductions on price.
Despite our rainfall, with much effort we created a way to out winter our cows on kale, the highly efficient stabiliser cow will lay down excess fat and successfully rear her calf meaning during the winter months considerable cost savings could be made. We found that our old breed of cows were heavy and not only made more mess while on the kale but always had to be housed first due to faster loss of condition.
Another really important benefit of the Stabiliser breed is the SCC and all the research and development that has gone into and continues to go into creating this highly efficient beef producing system.
Starting farming Stabiliser Cattle would have to be the best decision I have made for both quality of life and financial benefit.
Matthew Cooke, North Devon