7 July 1995

South Devons show big improvements

By Michael Gaisford

A RAPID breeding programme which has improved the performance of South Devons drew international attention.

Since 1990, a small group of breeders have used modern selection techniques including MOET and BLUP to achieve big improvements in breed performance. They were rewarded at the event by being invited by the Royal Agricultural Society of England to demonstrate their work in the new commercial beef production area.

Accelerated South Devon Imp-rovement Group managing director, Glos breeder Charles Phillips, said there was a lot of interest and surprise from visitors from all over the world over how the group had made such big improvements in the breed in such a short time.

"Our breeding programme is based on using BLUP with more than 500 of the best South Devons in Britain," said Mr Phillips. "All ASDIG stock is EBL-attested, IBR-negative, BVD-free and lepto-vaccinated and we are optimistic of getting good orders soon for stock, semen and embryos from all round the world.

"What is needed now is for other South Devon breeders to commit to similar breed improvement programmes to help us meet the growing demand for our stock," he added.

RASE communications development manager Alan Spedding said a central function of the RASE was to help transfer science into practice and that ASDIG breeders were doing just that.

"The group has used the best tools available to accelerate progress to their production goals."

Last year the beef value of the ASDIG herds was SD23 against a breed average of only SD17. Show visitors were able to see one of the top bulls in the group, Asdig Concorde 1, which at three years old has a beef value of SD50. &#42