29 January 1999

MLC young bull scheme means more early use

GREATER use will be made of best young beef bulls earlier in their lives through the MLCs new young bull promotion scheme.

The scheme, which replaces the mothballed Young Bull Proving Scheme, aims to promote rapid genetic improvement in beef breeds by encouraging use of best young bulls early in their life, says MLC beef scientist, Duncan Pullar.

Twice a year, bulls less than 30 months old from herds using Signet Beefbreeder recording can be nominated by breed societies or Signet. Each animal must be in the top 10% of its breed for beef value and above average for calving value to qualify.

Four bulls will then be selected from all nominations by an MLC panel, based on how close each animal is to its breeds top beef value. "For instance, where a bull is second in its breed, it will be chosen over another bull that is fourth in its breed," says Dr Pullar.

Semen will be collected from the four selected bulls, and 100 straws distributed, free of charge, to at least 20 pedigree herds.

"Breeders tend to take decisions about wider spread use of promising bulls later than they should. This scheme aims to promote a rapid increase in quality of beef sires through reduced generation intervals," he adds. &#42