Top Tips for Farmers

The Importance of Genetics

Now is the time to look back at last year’s calves and assess their performance. It’s important to consider the dam, sire and farm of origin when measuring performance and selecting calves to purchase in 2023.

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ABP cattle in a field with the sea and mountains in the distance


The ABP Demo Farm has found a large variation in calf performance between herds and sires. See attached video which showcases two heifers reared on the ABP Demo Farm in Co. Carlow from two 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 seen in the video, there was a 142kg difference in liveweight between these two heifers, which equated to a carcass weight difference of 88kg. At a base price of €5.00/kg and with relevant bonuses (AA bonus, QA Bonus, Sustainability Bonus), this resulted in a price difference of €493.



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’s important to seek out these traits, most importantly carcass weight and conformation. The above example shows that sire AA5280 is +9.5kg for carcass whereas progeny from sire AA5407 is -0.9kg. This clearly demonstrates the benefits of selecting a sire with the highest carcass weight and conformation 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 Beef 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 Advantage Beef Advisor.