16 February 1996

New EBV formula

CURRENT beef cattle estimated breeding values are designed to improve an animals saleable meat yield and feed intake by recording growth rates and backfat.

Birthweight is the only indicator for breeders trying to avoid calving difficulties. But an improved evaluation of this trait will be available this summer or autumn.

Dr Ron Crump at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, and Dr Pete Amer, of SAC, are working on a formula to include these traits within the overall beef value. Breeders will need to record calving ease on a scale of 1 to 5 as well as cow gestation length. &#42