Taking the Livestock industry higher

Carcase attributes Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available to help commercial farmers choose a bull based on the attributes that will affect profitability, such as carcase quality and speed of finishing. However, this information can only be generated if the ear tag number of the sire is recorded when registering a calf with BCMS.

With the ambition to take the industry higher, the AHDB has launched a project called Shout about the Sire. It is no secret that certain abattoir schemes will not take meat without the sire being logged, but this is certainly not a norm at the moment.

For animals to be finished on a scheme such as the Aberdeen Angus scheme, which allows suppliers to brand their meat as Aberdeen Angus, the sire must be recorded.

But with only 23 per cent of sires currently registered on passports, AHDB Beef & Lamb is urging farmers to start recording this information to improve profitability and boost their competitiveness.

Carcase trait EBVs are:

  • Carcase conformation
  • Carcase weight
  • Fat class
  • Days to slaughter
  • Average daily carcase gain

We had a catch up with Ian Norbury, who runs the family farm near Knutsford in Cheshire. His plan for their business focuses around expanding his Angus herd, developing pedigree stock sales, achieving better carcasses quicker, driving down costs, while making the system easier for one person to operate.

Q : Ian, can you tell us about your farm & herd?
A: My farm is based in Cheshire where we farm Aberdeen Angus cattle. We have 60 sucker cows and 60 pure bred pedigree Aberdeen Angus sucker cows. All our stock is taken to finish and is sold as dead weight.

Q: And how long have you been recording sire information? Is this standard practice at your farm?
A: We always do – it is vital information which has to be captured and when we do, it always goes on to CTS.

Q: What information and data in Cattle manager do you look at mostly?
A: Cattle Manager gives us the ability to focus on key data. We can quickly and easily see information that relates to Kill-out percentage age when killed, time days calved and calving ease.

Q: And what information do you then filter and look at by sire?
A: Crucially, we’re able to get detailed carcase grade information which helps us make decisions going forward.

Q: Have you used any of the sire information to make herd management decisions?
A: As well as grade data, we also look at information around calf growth from heifers or cows.

Q: And finally, if you were to give one reason to #Shoutaboutthesire what would it be?
A: The underlying factor in this scheme is full traceability. I am a believer that information is power and thanks to Shout about the Sire, I now know that hypothetically, if I could clone one of my bulls, I know which one it would be.

To find out more about a series of changes that have proven to have transformational effects on Ian Norbury’s Cheshire farm check out our blog post here.