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Using genetics to take the guesswork out of selecting animals for beef

Selecting an animal with the appropriate genetics for beef production is a key contributor to profitability on beef farms nationally.

Up until the launch of the Commercial Beef Value by the ICBF, a farmer’s ability to select animals for beef production was often limited to just the physical appearance of the animal. Now through the use of the Commercial Beef Value (CBV), farmers have an excellent tool to identify and select animals with superior beef finishing genetics.

At the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, the Teagasc beef exhibit focused on the use of this tool to select an identify animals suitable for beef production. Included in the display was a selection of animals from both the suckler and dairy-beef herds in Kildalton College. In the below video, Martina Harrington, Future Beef Programme Manager, and Fergal Maguire, DairyBeef 500 Programme Advisor, tell us more on the use of the CBV:

What is the Commercial Beef Value?

The Commercial Beef Value (CBV) is a tool for non-breeding beef farmers, which gives an insight into an animal’s genetic merit for beef production based on its parentage. Compromising of five key traits, including: carcass weight; carcass conformation; carcass fat; docility; and feed intake, when used as a selection tool for identifying high merit animals at purchasing, it may allow for the identification of faster growing, better shaped, more feed efficient and more docile animals.

In order for a CBV to be generated for a calf, they must have a sire recorded when registered. The CBV value is available through the profile section of the ICBF Herdplus account and it is planned to be included on mart boards in the future.

How does the CBV work?

CBV values are expressed as a euro value and will be generated for all cattle that are likely to be finished, including male and female (non-pedigree) stock bred from beef cows, dairy-bred male and female calves sired by a beef bull and male calves sired by a dairy bull, provided a sire is recorded. Animals are assigned to one of three different breed types under the CBV, which is dependent on sire and dam breed. These are: beef x beef; beef x dairy; and dairy x dairy. Similar to the Terminal and Replacement Index, animals are assigned a star rating of one to five, with a five star animal being in the top 20% of the national population within that breed type, whereas a one star animal is within the bottom 20%.

Also read: Making use of the CBV when purchasing calves

Also read: How to produce high Commercial Beef Value calves

Teagasc at the Ploughing

Over the course of the National Ploughing Championships, some of the key highlights have been featured on Teagasc Daily. Check these out below:

Teagasc at the National Ploughing Championships

5-star ewes deliver for productivity and profitability

Factors influencing contaminant losses to water

New and exciting opportunities for forestry creation on farms

Selecting the appropriate actions to reduce gaseous emissions on tillage farms

Food chemistry at the National Ploughing Championships

Using digital tools to support Teagasc advisory services

Eddy’s role in monitoring soil carbon