Genetic trends in beef sires used on dairy cows in UK

Frozen Bone-In Beef
Published Feb 6, 2024

Tridge summary

Dairy farmers are increasingly selecting beef sires for traits beyond 'easy calving', such as those that increase the value of the dairy beef calf. Data shows significant improvement in the average Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for dairy beef calves since 2014, particularly in reduced days to slaughter. However, improvements in carcase weight have been slower, especially for native sires used in dairy herds. Beef processors and AI companies are collaborating to produce calves that meet the needs of finishers and processors. Tools like AHDB’s herd genetic reports and National Beef Evaluations are aiding in this genetic progress.
Disclaimer: The above summary was generated by a state-of-the-art LLM model and is intended for informational purposes only. It is recommended that readers refer to the original article for more context.

Original content

The beef sires chosen by a dairy farmer must be ‘easy calving’, but there is increasing interest in selecting these sires for other traits, which will increase the value of the dairy beef calf. Our National Beef Evaluations use data from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) and a national network of abattoirs to produce Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) – a measure of the genetic merit – for five carcase and three maternal traits for all breeds and crossbreds. They are grouped into native (most common breeds: Angus, Hereford and South Devon) and continental (most common breeds: Limousin, Simmental and British Blue) types to reflect the different genetic backgrounds. To understand the changing selection in beef sires, we looked at the average EBV for dairy beef calves born between 2001–2021 and their sires. We can then compare this to the suckler beef calves over the same period. Calves that finish more quickly cost less to rear, so breeding for a reduced days to slaughter is ...
Source: Ahdb
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