You only get out what you put in

You may have read our most recent blog post where we talked about the benefits of recording cattle and sire data. This week we take a closer look at breeding and Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs.)

Traditionally your success in pedigree livestock breeding was dictated purely by how an animal looked, with reputations built on wins in the show ring rather than profitability.

But there has been a real shift over the years and we no longer judge purely by how the sire or dam looks but also by how profitable the animal is and the potential that will be passed down to their offspring.

It used to take generations to become a pedigree livestock farmer, established enough to make the venture viable and hopefully profitable. This is no longer the case as numerous breeders now take advantage of the many opportunities, such as AI and embryo transfer, to speed up their breed programmes. Breeders have access to a much bigger pool of top-level genetics, provided by established bloodlines, resulting in a much faster means of chromosomal improvement.

But all this information must come from somewhere. Never has the saying ‘You only get out what you put in’ been truer, particularly when it comes to performance recording for genetic evaluation. It is not just quantity, but also the quality of the data that matters.

While some breeders may choose to ‘performance record’ only their best animals which they plan to select as future sires or dams, or with the aim of bringing up the average EBVs of the herd, only recording your ‘best’ calves won’t necessarily result in ‘better’ EBVs.

It is important to understand EBV accuracy and utilising the data in your decision making.

Our Cattle and Livestock Manager programs offer cattle farmers in the UK, who manage their valuable pedigree information via their breed society website, a complete management system with instant access to this data.

Farmplan have worked with most of the main cattle breed societies to ensure that the correct information is collected for registering births which can then be submitted via a file to avoid duplication of work and ensure that records are accurate and up to date.

Up-to-date records

  • Download and add missing pedigree details directly from the breed society website into the program, including family history details
  • A direct link to each animal’s webpage from the program
  • Access to detailed history of every animal – visible from one location as the program provides complete management details at the same time allowing direct access to the breeding information held by the society’s database

Streamlined process

  • Access pedigree information via Farmplan software, including EBVs, pedigree details and more. Save time checking details whilst ensuring the data is always up to date and accurate

Improve how they manage progeny information

  • Information is complete and can be used in conjunction with other valuable information such as health, vet treatments, weights and feed to monitor animal development

Maintain integrity of family lines

  • Demonstrate history of animal with accurate record keeping and detailed information

Sally Ashwell, Farmplan’s Product Co-ordinator, said: “We continually work with farmers throughout the UK to help develop our software to meet their changing needs. The link with the Breed Societies is something we believe makes a positive difference to how pedigree breeders use their data and our software.”

AHDB and Farmplan have put together a short survey to capture current sire recording practices. It would be greatly appreciated if you could take a couple of minutes to answer a few short questions. Click here to access the survey

To find out more about Farmplan’s Cattle Manager software, click here