Dairy Beef Progeny Test results highlight the power of genetics

// Breeding and Genetics

The latest results in Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics’ Dairy Beef Progeny Test once again demonstrate the value of selecting the right beef genetics for use over dairy cows.

image of dairy beef cattle

Dan Brier, General Manager, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics says this year’s results showed that there are some good all-round bulls that deliver for both the dairy farmer and the finisher.

“There are bulls that offer short gestation and low birthweight genetics while producing progeny that finish well with high-value carcass characteristics.”Released this month, the results include the processing data from the first calves born in the second stage of the Dairy Beef Progeny Test.

This programme tests the performance of bulls with EBVs that indicate they are likely to be excellent bulls for dairy beef systems.

The calves, which were born in 2018, were ultrasound scanned for carcass traits before processing between October 2020 and March 2021.

All the traits assessed in the live animals showed a significant impact of the sire, meaning the performance of the progeny was better for some sires than others. The report identifies some top all-round bulls as well as top individual bulls for key traits.

The only two traits that appeared not to affected by the sire were pH and meat colour.

The majority of cattle (97.6%) graded P2 and 38% of heifers and 24% of steers reached reserve grade under Silver Fern Farms’ BeefEQ standard.

All of the cattle in the progeny test are born on Pāmu’s Renown farm at Wairakei Estate and reared and finished under commercial conditions at Pāmu’s Orakonui farm, also at Wairakei Estate.

The weights of all the calves are recorded at 200, 400 and 600 days.

Dan says the 2019-born calves have been run in four groups since weaning (two groups of heifers and two groups of steers) and are on track for processing in the coming spring and summer.

All 694 calves born last spring were DNA-verified to Progeny Test sires. The only calving difficulties reported were six mal-presented calve. None of the calves were too big for the cows.

Dan says the Dairy Beef Progeny Test is creating value for both this country’s beef industry and the dairy industry.

The majority of this country’s export beef is derived from the dairy industry and improving the quality of this beef benefits both industries by generating more value at every stage of the supply chain while reducing calf wastage in the dairy industry.

“Dairy farmers are an important part of B+LNZ and the Dairy Beef Progeny Test generates the information dairy farmers need to make informed decisions about the non-replacement genetics they choose to use over their cows. We entered into partnership with LIC (which helps fund the test) a couple of years ago to ensure that dairy farmers have access to the best bulls coming through the progeny test”

He says B+LNZ Genetics is now calling for bull nominations for the 2021-mating.  Nominations are open to all breeds.

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