Farm Ireland

Sunday 19 November 2017

Best of breeds pass Tully tests

Stringent examinations prove a success as latest group of high EBI bulls go up for auction, writes Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The top performers in each of the nine breeds have emerged from the beef testing centre in Tully in Kildare. In total, 50 bulls were tested over the course of three months. They will all be on offer in the Elite High Health status sale on Friday, October 8, at 5pm.

Two Speckle Park, three Blonde d'Aquitaine, one Parthenaise, two Shorthorn, five Angus, three Charolais, one Simmental, two Belgian Blue and 31 Limousin are listed in order of sale and will be 12-17 months old.

See the table (below) for performance scores of the top bulls.

How are bulls assessed at Tully?

  • Visual score (33pc). All bulls were assessed by one master scorer, working on behalf of the ICBF and each of the beef herdbooks.

n€uroStar indexes (33pc). These were based on the latest official indexes from ICBF (August 2010). Four of the bulls ranked in the top 2pc within each of their relevant breeds on Suckler Beef Value.

  • Tully performance data (33pc). The Tully performance test involves subjecting the bulls to uniform feeding, housing and management conditions. During the performance test, bulls are weighed every 21 days with individual feed intake being obtained daily. Other measurements taken at Tully include:
  • Average daily gain (kg/day): A key indicator of growth rate.
  • Feed conversion efficiency (DMI/ADG): The ratio describing the amount of feed consumed per unit of production. It is important to identify animals that are efficient users of feed, with low values representing more efficient animals.
  • Scanned muscle and fat depth (mm): These traits are accurate indicators of meat and fat yield.
  • Scrotal circumference (cm): Increased scrotal circumference is associated with earlier age at puberty, increased semen production and improved semen quality.

All bulls were scored according to the above criteria, and the top bulls were then selected from within each breed based on this analysis. These bulls have excellent performance figures. For example, average daily gain was 1.8-2.5kg/day across the nine breeds.

What makes Tully bulls superior is not only that they are pre-selected, have elite genetics and high indexes, but the fact that these bulls have a very high health status. Only bulls from herds with a high health status are eligible to enter Tully.

This process begins with on-farm health testing, which involves a maximum of 20 animals in the herd (including the candidate animal) tested for IBR, BVD, Johne's and EBL, thereby building up a profile of the health status of the whole herd.

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Bulls that meet the on-farm health testing criteria are accepted into Tully, where they are isolated for a further 30-day period.

Once in isolation, a blood sample is obtained weekly for three weeks, testing again for the various diseases to ensure no bull becomes infected during on-farm testing and entry into Tully.

Next intake at Tully (November)

Currently, bulls are being identified for the next intake, which is due to start on November 26. Application forms will be sent out this week to breeders with eligible bulls.

The targeted bulls must have a birth date from November 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010.

Irish Independent