SINCE the inception of the Feed Conversion Efficiency Trials at the Vasse Research Station, South Devon cattle have performed exceptionally well.
In the 1991 Vasse Trial pair of steers competition, South Devons had the top feed conversion (kilogram of feed ration to produce one kilogram of weight gain).
In the 1992 steer trial a pen of South Devon steers were first for profit, first for profit per tonne of feed, first for dressing percentage and third for EMA and feed efficiency.
When the Vasse Feed Efficiency Conversion Trial recommenced as a bull trial the South Devon breed had expressed interest in competing and in 1998 the first eight South Devon bulls were entered in the multi-breed bull trial.
The top South Devon bull had a feed conversion ratio of 5.2, a daily weight gain of 1.89kg/day, and a net feed efficiency of -42.
In the 1999 trial the top South Devon bull had a FCR of 5, a daily weight gain of 2.27kg/day and the team of eight bulls averaged 6.1 for FCR and a daily weight gain of 2.07 kg/day.
At last year's trial 22 South Devon bulls took part in the trial. A South Devon bull was the top overall of all breeds with a FCR of 4.3, a daily weight gain of 2kg/day.
The 22 South Devon bulls in the trial averaged 5.4 for FCR and 2.1 for daily weight gain.
It would appear from preliminary figures that South Devons in this year's trial should perform within the range of previous years.
Results will be released at the final field day to be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2001.