The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s (ICBF’s) January 2023 evaluation figures are now available for all dairy and beef animals.
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Big changes in ICBF’s January 2023 sire evaluations

This set of evaluations has seen significant change in the top beef bulls in the Dairy Beef Index (DBI).

The cause of this change is the decision by ICBF to include a carbon component as part of the weightings.

The carbon component includes a number of factors such as age at slaughter, gestation length and carcass weight.

Age at slaughter has also been included in the ICBF’s beef sub-index value. The age at slaughter weighting has significantly altered the beef sub-index values of bulls.

Many traditional breed bulls, such as Aberdeen Angus and Herefords, have increased their values in the ICBF’s DBI due to their progeny’s earlier age at slaughter.

Updated sire evaluations

Speaking to Agriland on the updated evaluations, beef programme manager with the National Cattle Breeding Centre (NCBC), Rose Goulding, outlined her advice to farmers from an NCBC perspective.

“The best advice for farmers is to select highly proven bulls with a high volume of calving data in the dairy herd and a high volume of progeny slaughter data,” she said.

“We have a lot of proven bulls with a huge volume of data gathered on calving records and carcass records. We print this data in the Munster Bovine and Progressive Genetics’ catalogues.”

Goulding reminded dairy farmers who are aiming to produce a top-quality beef-sired calf that the top DBI bull won’t necessary give a farmer the best calf and the farmer needs to examine the bull’s sub-indexes.

“Bulls with a short gestation and a younger slaughter age for its progeny will be now ranked higher in the DBI, but this won’t necessarily mean a better calf on the ground,” she said.

“The advice I would give to dairy farmers selecting beef sires for their herd is first of all, identify your cows in groups such as maidens, second calvers, cows and mature cows.

“Then, select the level of calving difficulty and gestation that the farm is comfortable with. That will be based on the farmers’ own experience. It’s benchmarking themselves into what level of calving difficulty they can tolerate on farm.

“Once the maximum calving difficulty has been identified, the farmer should select the bull with the highest beef sub-index to give the calf the highest CBV (commercial beef value) at the other side.

“The carcass weight value is also very important for profitability and this figure should also be examined.”

Goulding added that carcass weight and the beef sub-index values are “the two key indexes” for calf-to-beef farmers to be watching.

She also reiterated the importance of selecting proven bulls and said “a high volume of data” is important for the accuracy of the figures.

The next evaluation publication date is set for March 21, 2023.

Dairy farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are working to overcome the impacts of substantial flooding. Last week’s storms have left broad swaths of Tulare County under standing water.

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