Genetics and management key to calving

Genetics and management are key to a successful calving, according to new research by SAC.

The research found that lighter calves were sired by bulls with positive EBVs for calving ease, says SAC beef specialist Gavin Hill.

The trial involved using bulls with varying EBVs for calving ease direct on the pure Charolais suckler herd, with subsequent calf birth weights recorded.

“The results demonstrate Breedplan performance data for calving ease direct EBVs do demonstrate accurate trends,” says Mr Hill.

However, Mr Hill says the herd’s overall ease of calving is also attributed to the correct management of condition score in dry cows over winter.

“Cows were autumn-housed in leaner condition than targeted due to the wet summer. Our winter management was designed to allow the cows to regain some condition throughout November and December, after which they were kept at condition score 2.5 through to calving.”

“Both genetics and management are critical to minimise calving difficulties and subsequently maximise herd output. However, if the correct genetics are selected in the first instance, then farmers will reap long term benefits,” says Mr Hill.