6 October 1995

Beef profits lie in the genes

GENETIC evaluation will be the main driving force of future beef profits, said Meat and Livestock Commission beef strategy manager Chris Brown at the Royal Agricultural College workshop.

Dr Brown said work was progressing on new categories for the Estimated Breeding Value system based on Best Linear Unbiased Prediction analysis.

"The aim is to have the enhanced system in use this time next year," he said.

Current assessment of an EBV for muscling score, judged on a 15-point scale by trained assessors, will be improved by providing a muscle depth score. "This will be measured using ultrasound to give a more objective and accurate assessment of muscle levels."

International conversions of BLUP figures will also be available, enabling direct comparisons of performance figures for breeding stock from abroad with those for UK animals.

Figures for gestation lengths will be included, along with figures for calving ease measured on a five-point scale. Dr Brown said the MLC was also developing EBVs for carcass conformation and fat class. "The enhanced system should allow more rapid and accurate changes to breeding strategies, so that we can better meet the demands of the consumer.

"But the current system is a useful tool and readily available through breed society sire and dam line summaries. Thirty breeds have been assessed and I urge you to make use of these summaries when buying bulls," he added. &#42