We are all well aware of what has happened to grain prices this last 10 months but this now places greater emphasis on using high index beef sires in an attempt to generate profit especially with intensive systems. Breed improvement is a ‘long term issue’ but with high cereal prices it is imperative that we feed ‘well bred’ cattle sired by bulls with high Beef Values/Terminal Indexes.
In a recent trial at Harper Adams we intensive cereal finished dairy-bred progeny from Limousin bulls with either a Top 1% or Bottom 1% Beef Value. The bull calves from the Top 1% sire finished 25.1 days earlier with carcase weights some 18kg heavier. Overall performance on every measured trait was statistically significant apart from calving ease which was similar for both bulls.
The earlier finishing and increased slaughter weight and grade of the calves from the Top 1% bull with today’s (England’s) beef and cereal prices is worth a phenomenal £116.24 per head. If each bull sires 200 calves then you could in theory afford to pay £23,248 more for the Top 1% Index bull!
Extract: Marsh, S.P., Vickers, M. and Wharton, N. 2008 Evaluation of progeny from Limousin bulls with either a Top 1% or Bottom 1% Beef Value. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science. Paper 206
Short Report written by Simon Marsh, Senior Lecturer, Harper Adams University College, email [email protected]