Genetics

If you are serious about making some genetic progress here are a few simple strategies that we recommend:

  1. Choose a progressive breeder to purchase bulls from. The seedstock herd needs to have clear and established genetic goals that fit your requirements.
  2. Keep all your heifers (bar the real tail end). Don’t let the consultant (or stud breeder!) select your heifers, as they will only keep the early born calves out of your older cows. The heifers out of your younger cows should be genetically superior but they will be smaller and lighter on actual weights. In most cases you, the breeder, will know your cattle better than someone walking in the gate – back your own judgement.This increases selection differential on females and lowers average parental generation interval, hence more rapid genetic progress.
  3. Use sons of top proven sires. This increases selection differential on sires and has a major impact on genetic gain. The closer you are to the high end of your bull suppliers genetics the closer the gap and the younger your bull team, generally they smaller the ‘lag’ between you and your seedstock supplier.
  1. Review your bull team annually, remove any unsound bulls and look at where they sit in the key Breedplan criteria (particularly growth and carcase traits). If they’re no longer up to scratch think about turning them over and using a finance lease so you can join the whole herd to top performance bulls. This ensures you have a maximum selection of superior heifers to join the following year and as a result your genetic progress will accelerate from there.

This approach increases the selection pressure on bulls and lowers the generation interval on both bulls and females, both of which contribute to faster genetic progress.

It’s that easy. Modern technology and information enables us to breed large numbers of commercial bulls that have massive growth and feed conversion potential, the ability to hit carcase specification earlier with less days on feed with a far greater predictability; all this in a moderate sized package that includes calving ease, and of course, fertility.