A recent project, funded by AHDB and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, has developed new Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs). These are linked to the traits commercial farmers get paid for, such as carcase quality and speed of finishing. The new carcase trait EBVs are:

  • Carcase conformation
  • Carcase weight
  • Fat class
  • Days to slaughter
  • Average daily carcase gain

A bull’s EBVs give you a good idea of the genetic potential that will be passed on to his calves. Take this into consideration when purchasing stock bulls or choosing AI sires. Although terminal traits such as growth rate and muscle depth are a step in the right direction to producing profitable carcases, the new carcase trait EBVs are directly related to carcase performance.

Data from BCMS, abattoirs and breed societies is used to calculate new EBVs. This ensures high accuracy figures for bulls that have had progeny slaughtered. EBVs can be calculated for young bulls using data from their relatives, such as their parents and grandparents. These figures will get more accurate when their own progeny reach slaughter age.

The EBVs are not only an important step forward for suckler-bred animals, they are also highly relevant to beef on dairy sires.

Registering sire details on passports to develop estimated breeding values

The abattoir data currently covers 40% of the national kill. Two million purebred and crossbred carcase have been used to develop these EBVs. However, there were a further two million abattoir records that could not be used to generate EBVs. This was because the sire details of the finished animal were not recorded when registering their calves. In order for a bull to have these EBVs available, their sire details must be registered with BCMS on the passports of their calves. Without this information, any data relating to the bull is meaningless.

You can help by making sure you register the sire. Keeping a list of ear tag numbers by the side of your computer will make it easier and quicker when registering calves. If using artificial insemination (AI), a simple way to keep track is to make sure all semen delivery cards are kept safe as these will have the sire ear tag number on them.

New carcase trait EBVs for bulls can be found at egenes.co.uk/carcassdata.You can search by pedigree name or ear tag number.

Estimated Breeding Values help boost beef farming profits

If you would like more information on Estimated Breeding Values, please contact us.