6 December 1996

Top genetics vital

WITH the fall in beef prices producers will require stock with superior genetics capable of efficient growth to improve margins.

Thats the prediction made by Signet consultant Jim Stark at the BGS winter meeting. He said that animal performance was a vital factor in profitability.

"The top third profit-making Signet recorded suckled calf units have 6% higher growth rates, and 5% heavier sale weights from 6% less feed," said Mr Stark.

He advised producers to use estimated breeding values (EBVs) as a back up to visual assessments and explained that the current EBV system provided estimated performance figures which should be used to select stock to suit individual systems.

"Figures are given for birthweight, 200 day growth rates – which gives an indication of the milk supplied by the dam – 400 day growth, backfat depth and muscling score.

"The traits combine to provide an overall estimate known as the beef value. It is this figure that indicates overall performance and hence should be used as the first step in purchasing stock," he said.

"EBVs also provide an increase in margins for pedigree producers demonstrated by the premium prices attained at Perth," he added.

Sale prices achieved for bulls with differing beef values at Perth autumn sales 1996.

Beef valueAverage

sale price (£)