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There are a number of factors to consider when buying a bull using performance records:

  • Focus on the traits that will make you the most money and set appropriate breeding objectives
  • Select bulls with the right EBVs to realise these objectives
  • Talk to the breeder about your requirements
  • Obtain a breed benchmark – this will indicate how the bull performs compared to others within the breed – indicating strengths and weaknesses
  • Review each bull’s EBVs using the search engine
  • Don’t ignore traits that influence ease of calving or maternal performance (if female replacements are retained)
  • Low heritability traits such as longevity and fertility can be enhanced by crossbreeding and exploiting hybrid vigour
  • When planning a breeding strategy take into account available resources such as forage, labour and housing
  • Remember EBVs can be compared between herds, but not between breeds
  • It pays to invest. The difference between an average bull and one with high EBVs could be worth £2000 during its lifetime
  • Look after the health and nutritional requirements of your bull to ensure he has a long productive life.