Building a secure sustainable business model for beef farmers and their families
Now is the time to look back at last years calves and assess how they performed. It is important to consider the dam, sire and farm of origin when measuring performance and selecting calves to purchase in 2023.
ABP trial farm has found a large variation in calf performance between herds and sires. See attached video which showcases 2 heifers reared on the ABP Trial farm in Co. Carlow from 2 different sires – AA5407 and AA5280, both from Holstein Friesian cows.
**Please note these animals were slaughtered in November 2022, ICBF figures have altered since then**
As can be seen in the video, there was a 142kg difference in liveweight between these 2 heifers, which equated to a carcass weight difference of 88kg. At a base price of €5.00/kg and with relevant bonus’ (AA bonus, QA Bonus, Sustainability bonus) this resulted in a difference of €493 in price achieved.
The higher performing heifer sired by AA5280 has a higher beef sub-index, this is a combined figure of the animal’s traits which are important to the beef farmer, listed above. When selecting calves this year it is important to look at these traits, most importantly carcass weight and conformation. As you can see above sire AA5280 is +9.5kg for carcass whereas progeny from sire AA5407 is -0.9kg which clearly demonstrates the benefits of selecting a sire with as high a carcass weight and conformation as possible.
Dairy beef animals born in 2023 onwards must be bred from a sire with a beef sub-index of €35 or greater to qualify for the ABP Advantage programme. As can be seen in the example above these animals sired by bulls with higher beef sub index values achieve higher live weight gains, improved carcass performance and feed efficiency which in turn creates a more profitable beef enterprise.
If you have any questions or need help finding information relating to your animals please don’t hesitate to contact your local farm liaison outlined on the map below.