Farm Ireland

Friday 17 November 2017

Maximise bulls revenue with the €uro-Star index

Knowing how to use the €uro-Star index will pay dividends in choosing the right bull to produce stock.

So which traits are most important? The overall Suckler Beef Value (SBV) combines information on all relevant traits, including calving, weanling, carcase and maternal traits, into one profit index.

However, if you are particularly interested in a bull for maiden heifers or a bull to breed maternal replacements, then you should put extra emphasis into some of the additional traits included in the SBV.

The relevant traits are: (i) milk and fertility traits (for maternal traits) and (ii) calving difficulty traits (for ease of calving and maiden heifers).

For each of these groups of traits you should look to select four- or five-star animals for these sub-indexes, in addition to five-stars for overall SBV.

In addition to the indexes, you should also keep an eye on the data reliability columns. Young bulls from performance recorded herds generally have data reliability levels of 30pc+ for SBV, indicating that you can have more confidence in the index value for that animal.


The €uro-Star index data is available on all pedigree bulls for breeding and can be viewed on the ICBF website ( by putting the bull's tag number into the bull search and returning the relevant pedigree and genetic index data for the bull. It is also available on the breed society websites, for animals of that breed.

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€uro-Star indexes are also now available on most sales catalogues from beef breed societies and on all AI catalogues. There is no reason not to select breeding bulls on the basis of indexes. This information is there. It's now down to farmers and the industry to use it.

One of the questions often asked by farmers is what can I afford to pay for a five-star bull?

Based on the information in Table 1, it is easy to do the sums.

Assuming a farmer has a herd size of 30 cows and is selling/finishing 20 cattle per year from those cows, the figures indicate that the farmer could comfortably afford to pay a premium of €2,000+ for five-star bulls.

Why would you consider paying €2,000 for an average bull, when €4,000+ would give you a bull that has the potential to leave you an extra €100 per progeny, compared to an average bull. The difference between a five-star bull and a one-star bull is even wider, with the five-star bull leaving you €300 more per head on his offspring than a one-star bull. The case is compelling.

Indo Farming