29 March 1996

Use high value bulls to reap many benefits

USING high beef value bulls reduces finishing times and improves quality and profit, according to Yorkshire-based JSR Farms manager Richard Fuller.

Mr Fuller told the Scarborough meeting that ways of improving suckler herds should be investigated to reduce reliance on CAP premium schemes to achieve profitability.

"Top of my list for profitability is breed. The influence of the Holstein has led to a loss of conformation," he said.

"To some extent we can offset the effect of the cow by using high beef value bulls identified by best linear unbiased prediction," said Mr Fuller.

Charolais member

He is a member of the GLB Charolais breeding group, which comprises 250 pedigree cows in three herds linked by common AI sires.

Embryo transfer is used to accelerate bloodlines. The aim is to produce calves with better eye muscle depth using BLUP to increase improvement rates of muscling and growth.

The accuracy of the BLUP programme can then be tested on our own 900 cow suckler herd at Givendale.

"Comparing sires with a beef value of CH55 and CH32 we found that 50% of the higher beef value sired progeny graded U+ or E against 35% for the lower beef value sire. All progeny from the higher bull finished in fat class 4L or below while only 75% of progeny achieved that grade in the rest of the herd.

"The best beef bulls finished 21 days earlier reducing feed use and leading to an extra margin of £32, plus a further £6 for the higher grade quality.

Richard Fuller:"Top of my list for JSRFarms profitability is breed."