31st January 2011

New booklet to help bull buyers harness EBVs


With bull buying season upon us, Quality Meat Scotland has released a guide to help farmers harness the power of Estimated Breeding Values and maximise their return on investment.

Quality Meat Scotland has launched Bull Selection Made Simple – A Guide For The Commercial Buyer. This easy-to-read booklet offers producers a guide to the latest tools available to help with the decision making and to making sense of wealth of pen side information now presented.

Kathy Peebles, Livestock Development Manager for QMS, said: “Checking out the performance recorded figures (EBV’s) for the bull gives you an insight into what the potential genetic revenue will be from the offspring of that particular sire. Take, for instance, a bull with a 400 day weight with an EBV of + 78 Kg against one with +54Kg.

“The difference in their offspring is potentially 12Kg, as half the genetics are transferred by the bull, the other half are from the dam on the same amount of feeding and with the same management practices.

“Transferring that into monetary terms at an arbitrary value of £1.65 /kg liveweight, the offspring of the bull with the +78kg EBV is worth an additional £19.80.”

As well as financial returns, EBVs can also help with herd management and welfare. For instance where herds have experienced calving problems then the Calving Ease Direct EBV can flag up if you are more or less likely to come across them in future.

EBV information is now shown in easy to understand bar charts at the pen with more in-depth information being available in the sale catalogue or the breed society website. The societies also have an EBV breed benchmark so you can see how the bull is ranked against its peer group.

Kathy added: “Do your fact finding before the sale and you can be confident you will know which animals will take your herd forward. Buying a bull is not an easy task as there are numerous parameters to be taken into account so don’t just rely on it being in the right price bracket or coming from a well-known herd.

“Pedigree producers spend a lot of time recording the information that makes up the Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) and health status, to try and help their commercial producers to get the best animal to suite their system in the longer term.”

If you would like to obtain a free copy of the Guide For The Commercial Bull Buyer contact QMS on 0131 472 4040. It is also available to download from the Quality Meat Scotland website www.qmscotland.co.uk

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