- 94% of buyers will purchase further Limousin bulls
- Calving Ease the most important Limousin trait for buyers
- Buyers’ respond very positively on bull and calf docility
Ninety-four percent of commercial Limousin calf producers will purchase further Limousin bulls at Society sales. Twenty seven percent of purchasers have changed to Limousin from another breed in the last five years. These are the main headlines following an extensive bull buyers’ survey carried out by the British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS) across 1400 bulls sold in 2012 and 2013 at official Society sales around the United Kingdom.
The wide ranging questionnaire asked purchasers on the all-round working abilities of the bulls including calving ease, docility of bulls and progeny, fertility, quality and performance of progeny, and food conversion and growth rate through to marketing. Additional questions asked of the importance placed on areas such as herd health information, performance figures, and pre-sale inspections, as well as how satisfied purchasers had been with all aspects of the performance of their Limousin bulls to date.
Of the characteristics of the breed most important to buyers, the survey yielded that 36% of producers placed ease of calving first; followed in second place by carcase characteristics and conformation at 29% and saleable offspring third with 6%. In further confirmation of the breed’s calving performance 78% said that they used their bulls on heifers.
A significant trend within the survey showed that 27% of purchasers had changed to Limousin from another breed in the last five years.
In a highly positive endorsement of the breed’s commercial attributes and performance, 93% of all respondents said that their calves had performed with ‘good’ and ‘better than expected’ rates of growth and feed conversion. When questioned on docility of the breed a huge 97% of respondents rated their bulls’ temperament as good (82%) and average (15%) with a similarly impressive 95% saying that the docility of progeny was average, good, and excellent.
84% of those surveyed gave a positive response to the fertility and serving capacity of their bulls whilst 70% of the bulls are noted as still being in use today at ages of five and six years old.
Again confirming the popularity of the Limousin female, 68% of the respondents said that they retained heifers as breeding replacements.
At the point of pedigree sale the importance of vendors’ herd health status at was highlighted with 97% respondents replying that this was very important (78%) and important (19%). In addition, 75% felt that compulsory TB testing prior to sale would encourage them to purchase from wider TB areas.
95% said that the Society’s pre-sale vet inspection was important with 71% noting it as very important. 52% felt that all aspects of the inspection were of equal importance. Of the remaining responses, 30% thought that locomotion was the most important part of the inspection. In a new question to buyers, 85% of respondents said that semen testing of bulls pre-sale would be of interest to them.
The importance of performance information at sale is reflected with 76% of respondents believing that EBV’s were very and quite important with 75% feeling that EBVs were very or quite well understood.
Of the surveys received 75% of the respondents run one to three Limousin bulls with 22% running three to seven bulls. Of the bulls purchased 77% were for use in the suckler herd; 18% were bought by pedigree breeders; and 5% were for use in the dairy herd. The large majority of the herds responding (89%) had more than thirty cows running on a combination of lowland units (56%) and upland/hill units (44%). Further questions showed that 63% of calves are sold as stores with a further 33% sold finished. Of these, 71% are sold live and 27% sold dead.
Commenting on the survey BLCS Chief Executive Iain Kerr said: “The results from the survey are very much in line with those held in recent years and to see this consistency in performance of the breed and the satisfaction of bull buyers is extremely positive”, he said. “These bull buyers’ surveys are a very important follow up to the sales allowing us to hear first-hand from purchasers and to consider and relay those comments back to breeders. Along with the buyers, the views of breeders, processors and retailers across the industry very much helps in shaping the forward Limousin Breed Improvement Plan, identifying future breed priorities, and maintaining profitability for all users.”