Improving cattle that are too fat for the market

These cattle may have been suited to a lighter weight market, before they became too fat.

They would not be suitable to target markets heavier than this unless they were grown out slowly first to develop a bigger frame and more muscle.

If you bought them to finish for this market, they were probably too small in the frame or lightly muscled, or had too much fat on them at the start.

If you bred them, there are three main options:

  • consider targeting a lighter weight market and sell them earlier, when they are finished
  • increase the stocking rate, this may slow their individual growth and reduce fatness while increasing beef produced per hectare
  • use genetics to increase their frame size and/or muscling so they are not as fat at this weight.

The genetic option can be done by bull selection using carcase EBVs within your breed, or by crossbreeding. This option requires careful planning - don't add too much frame size or you may affect breeding efficiency, or need to make other changes.

You can use the BeefSpecs tool to see how the weight and fat specifications of your cattle change as they grow. This can help you decide which market to target and predict when the cattle will be ready.