Dairy-beef in­dex

Irish Examiner - Farming - - GENERAL FARMING -

A dairy-beef in­dex to rank beef bulls on prof­itabil­ity when mated to a dairy cow is be­ing put to­gether by the Ir­ish Cat­tle Breed­ing Fed­er­a­tion (ICBF), Tea­gasc and Aba­cus­bio. A pre­sen­ta­tion on the pro­posed in­dex by Don­agh Berry at the re­cent Tea­gasc na­tional beef con­fer­ence was well re­ceived.

“There is phe­nom­e­nal vari­abil­ity within a breed. There is an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove the qual­ity of the an­i­mals from the dairy beef herd, with­out a mas­sive com­pro­mise from a dairy farmer’s per­spec­tive,” said Dr Berry.

“We need to cre­ate an in­dex which is easy to use, so the dairy farmer can see the rank­ing of the bulls that are go­ing to be bet­ter for their dairy cow”.

The pro­posed in­dex will be about 55% made up of calving in­dex, and 20% car­case weight, with ges­ta­tion length, car­case con­for­ma­tion, and feed in­take equally weighted in the re­main­ing 25%, plus small weight­ings for mor­tal­ity, car­case fat and docil­ity. A dairy-beef in­dex ranks beef bulls for use on dairy cows based on their es­ti­mated ge­netic po­ten­tial to pro­duce prof­itable, high-qual­ity cat­tle, born with min­i­mal reper­cus­sions on sub­se­quent per­for­mance of the dairy dam.

Dr Don­agh Berry, Tea­gasc: an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove the qual­ity of the an­i­mals from the dairy beef herd.

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