14 September 2001

Beef bulls gain benefit

PUREBRED Charolais cows run commercially to produce prime bulls for the Italian beef market reveal the benefit of using superior sires with high scores for both conformation and maternal traits.

The 75-cow herd owned by Cyril Thomas at Chalain le Comtal, near St Etienne, has been using AI for 25 years. Three of the most successful sires currently available to breeders – Jumper, Ibob and Harnois – are testimony to the success of the UCEF breeding programme. These produce a functional cow-type and a powerful calf crop.

"We wean bull calves off their dams at nine months old and sell them to Italy. They are reared for a further six months in Italy and slaughtered at 15 months old, weighing about 440kg," said Mr Thomas.

The herds best bulls are sold for breeding and use of UCEF AI sires means that it currently has two sires on the centres test programme.

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