Use The €urostar Figures To Breed Herd Replacements

IRELAND - Data collected on beef farms participating in the Teagasc eProfit Monitor shows that output per hectare is the most significant contributor to farm profit.
calendar icon 17 April 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Since stocking rates are being curtailed by REPS and environmental regulations, improving the quality and value of beef cattle is another way of raising output. Although recent studies by Dr Michael Drennan at Grange have shown that Irish beef producers do not get a comparable value for high quality carcases as is paid on the Continent, there is still a payback to using the superior genetics even at our lower returns. Apart from the return to better grades, using the better-bred stock gives improved liveweight gain and feed conversion.

The rewards to better breeding are more readily captured on the weanling export market which should encourage weanling producers to seek the best and most suitable breeding stock to produce weanlings for these markets.

Each generation of replacement heifers should be of higher rating on the main maternal beef traits than their dams so that like in dairying the Breeding Values of the herd for the important traits is raised each year as new replacements enter the herd. In the past, there was no measurement of the maternal traits so we had to rely on visual appearance and our knowledge of breeds and crossbreds to select suitable replacements. Now we have the beginnings of a scientific system for the evaluation of the potential of sires and dams to produce better replacements.

Within the new ICBF €urostar system for rating beef cattle, breeding stock are given a replacement value as well as a beef value. This replacement value is divided in two, consisting of a 'milk and fertility' value and a 'calf quality' value. The milk and fertility value gives a measure of the performance of daughters of a bull for true maternal traits such as her ability to survive in the herd, go back in calf quickly, calve easily and the amount of milk she produces for the calf.

Source: Business Xtra
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.