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EuroStar rating system delivers strong results

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ICBF launched their Maternal Bull Breeders Programme at the show and sale at Cillin Hill in Kilkenny last year with breeders and breed society representatives, John Mc Enroe, James O Leary, Ollie Byrne, Trevor Masterson, John Fitzpatrick, Peador Glennon, Pat Donnellon, Paul Skyes, Nevan Mc Kiernan, and Chris Daly.

ICBF launched their Maternal Bull Breeders Programme at the show and sale at Cillin Hill in Kilkenny last year with breeders and breed society representatives, John Mc Enroe, James O Leary, Ollie Byrne, Trevor Masterson, John Fitzpatrick, Peador Glennon, Pat Donnellon, Paul Skyes, Nevan Mc Kiernan, and Chris Daly.

ICBF launched their Maternal Bull Breeders Programme at the show and sale at Cillin Hill in Kilkenny last year with breeders and breed society representatives, John Mc Enroe, James O Leary, Ollie Byrne, Trevor Masterson, John Fitzpatrick, Peador Glennon, Pat Donnellon, Paul Skyes, Nevan Mc Kiernan, and Chris Daly.

There's stars in the eyes of the country's beef men, as ICBF's EuroStar rating system starts to take precedence over visual assessments in live cattle sales.

The numbers don't lie, and all the numbers from the trials at Tully testing station prove that four- and five-star bulls have higher carcase weights, better kill-outs, and higher value meat cuts.

Performance tests on 325 bulls show that despite lower dry matter intakes and lower daily weight gains, the five-star bulls completely out-performed the one-star progeny.

All of the animals were at similar weights at the start of the trial, but the superior star rated progeny were fit for slaughter a month earlier.

"The five-star progeny were more profitable than the one star bulls across the board, but some of the individual comparisons were even more striking," said the ICBF's Pat Donnellan.

The drymatter intake was 11.9kg/day for the five-star, compared to 13.1kg/day for the one-stars.

And while the five-star progeny weight at slaughter was 5kg less than the one-star group, their carcases weighed 17kg more, due to superior kill-outs.

The kill out for the five-stars was 61pc, compared to 58pc for the bottom ranked animals.

Commercial farmers are also turning on to the benefits of the system, with Kildare farmer John McDonald finding that progeny of five-star breeding were returning €237/hd more at slaughter.

Genetic

Mr McDonald, who runs a store-to-beef system based on summer grazing, found that carcase weights on the higher genetic merit animals were 50kg higher and finished a full four months earlier than the one-star progeny.

This was despite the fact that many of the five-star purchases cost less than their one-star comrades on the day of purchase.

All the animals were similar weights.

"The five-star cattle achieved a sale price of €1,478 or €237/hd more than the one-star.

But the major plus with the five-star cattle is in the efficiency of weight-gain. The daily liveweight gain of the five star cattle was 30pc higher during their time here," he explained.

Another midlands farmer specialising in bull beef had a similar experience.

The farmer, who asked not to be named, buys 500 weanling stores to graze for 100 days before indoor finishing for 100 days on a high concentrate diet.

"The five-star animals were slaughtered a month earlier, and left €336 more per head over the one-star.

"The better animals really took off when they were housed for the finishing period. For the total days on the farm, the one-star returned €2.44/day compared to €3.91/day for the five-star.

At a cost of €3/day, the one star was losing money indoors, even though they might have shown a net daily gain in value at grass," he concluded.

Indo Farming