Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 7 December 2016

When buying a bull reach for the stars

Evidence shows that new indexes clearly work in increasing profits for your farming business

Andrew Cromie ICBF

Published 22/03/2011 | 10:19

The beef breeding season will soon be upon us. Many farmers already have a stock bull on their farm while others are considering purchasing a new bull and some farmers will be thinking of using AI.

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In terms of information, there is a multiplicity of breeds, sales pictures and indexes to choose from. So how can beef farmers make sense of all of these options in a way that will increase profit on their farm?

In this article, I will endeavour to answer these questions by giving some key pieces of advice that will result in increased profit from breeding this spring and in future years.

One of the first questions asked by farmers and breeders is whether the new €uro-Star indexes work?

For example, if I was to buy a bull based on €uro-Star indexes, how confident can I be that the bull will deliver progeny that leave more profit at the time of sale, than a bull with no information or only average values?

Some recent work by ICBF has clearly demonstrated the value of €uro-Stars (see the table, pictured).

Of the 6,191 steers slaughtered during the week ending February 1, 2011 with index values, 1,067 were five-star steers and 1,282 were one-star steers, representing the progeny of high and low index bulls.

A comparison of the slaughter performance for these animals indicates that on average, five-star animals were 74kg heavier in terms of carcass weight at about the same age, had better conformation (by three conformation points) and had an increased carcass value of over €300 compared to one-star animals.

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Similar trends are apparent for other categories of animals such as heifers, young bulls and cull cows and for animals traded through marts.

The bottom line is five-star animals deliver more profit at the time of sale than animals of average or low genetic index.

The evidence is therefore compelling: when buying a bull or selecting AI straws this spring, you should focus on the €uro-Star values, as they will result in increased profit for your farming business.

Indo Farming