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.