Breeding & Genetics
Beef Breeding covers two important areas: Genetic improvement in the suckler cow herd and the sires used on it and Achieving fertility targets to maximise farm output
- Genetic improvement in the suckler cow herd and the sires used on it and
- Achieving fertility targets to maximise farm output
Genetic improvement can be achieved through breeding high index replacement heifers, purchasing stock bulls that are five stars for the important beef traits and by using AI to avail of bulls that have high reliability attached to their breeding values. Gains made from improving the genetics of a breeding a herd are cumulative and once achieved are there for the lifetime of the herd. Every suckler farmer needs to have a breeding plan to ensure that the next generation of stock is superior to the previous generation.
Having clear fertility targets for a herd is one of the first goals in any farm plan. Output on a suckler farm is directly related to the number of live calves weaned each year. Calving heifers at 24 months of age, having a tight calving pattern, aiming for a short calving interval and keeping mortality to a minimum are some of the key targets. Knowing what the targets should be is the first step.