1 December 1995

Breeders must use EBVs to pick out the best beef genes

By Jonathan Riley

FUTURE beef breeding programmes must make use of estimated breeding values, according to Chris Brown of the MLC.

He told producers at the farmers weekly "Making More From Beef" Farmer Forum at Smithfield FarmTech that breeders must identify genes to make the most of existing and new traits.

Peter Lang secretary of the White Rose group of Limousin breeders showed that in the first four years of using EBVs performance scores for the group have increased well above the breed average.

Scores are based on the average figure for various measured traits in the base year of 1980, which represents zero. By 1986 the breed average beef value – an overall score covering all measured traits – had risen to 14, while the White Rose group score was 15. "Using EBVs in conjunction with the stockmans eye the group selected a bull called Rachels Hamlet that at its 12-month test weighed 760kg, 40% more than the average bull we tested," said Mr Lang.

In 1994 the breed average beef value had risen to 21 but after four years using EBVs in the breeding programme the White Rose average had increased to 35. Similarly Richard Fuller of GLB Charolais said that since planned matings and EBVs were begun in 1990 the group beef values had accelerated away from the breed average.

"Last years calf crop had a score of 26 compared with a breed average of 18. And the GLB group of breeders has now produced seven of the top 10 bulls on muscling scores," said Mr Fuller. &#42

Peter Lang, secretary of the White Rose Limousin breed improvement group, with progeny from bulls selected using estimated breeding values.