Simon Fryer, Commercial Manager at Meadow Quality was invited to be our judge for our Calf Stock Judging competition (as seen in Focus on Calves).
We challenged our followers to place the calves in to the correct order. Below, Simon tells us his reasoning behind his placements.
The results are, in first place is it calf X, second place is calf A, third place is calf B, followed by calf Y in fourth place.
X - A bright, healthy heifer, well conformed and plenty of length in her body, she is a versatile type with a kind head and would make a reasonable cow. Overall she has more width and depth than the other three and therefore the most scope for any system.
A - This is a well-marked bull calf, fleshy, bright and healthy. Again, he has a reasonable length of body and a full shoulder, however, he lacks some depth on the hindquarters when compared to the first placed. This calf would make the selection for most systems and certainly eye-catching with its markings.
B - Well-presented calf, but there is a marked difference between this blue and the first two. Whilst it has a reasonable body length, he lacks in width on the shoulder, loin and back leg, that said, he would still make a good candidate for many feeders and store producers.
Y - Another bright healthy heifer that is well turned out by the producer. Whilst placed at fourth, she is testament to the quality of calves presented for this competition. Stretchy, but gives away width to 3rd place and for me, her tail head is a little too high and this is why she is the bottom of my selection.
It is always warming for me to see such well-reared calves, It takes meticulous and repetitive attention to detail, skill and love for calves to turn them out so bright, healthy and vibrant. Meadow Quality purchase calves direct from dairy farms 52 weeks of the year and any of these four calves would meet with firm demand throughout.
Meeting the needs of the consumer is an evolution, larger family meals are being replaced by quicker cooking times, healthy balanced meals at a specific price point. And so production from the beef industry is moving towards younger cattle, producing tender beef within much tighter weight bands reducing price points and cooking times. The raw materials for the beef industry is becoming ever more reliant on the dairy industry and therefore it is important that we produce a calf to meet its needs.
The health and welfare of a calf in its first four weeks of life will have a dramatic impact on the rest of its life, so feeding it well at this early age is “money well spent” in terms of the value achieved at the sale and the lifetime production for the buying customer.