Performance Recording – Annual Report
In recent years, it has been easy to demonstrate in this report the premium attracted by performance recorded stock over non-recorded stock and stock of lesser genetic merit as well as the increased proportion of stock coming forward to sell with EBVs in the Top 10% of the breed.
2010 has been no exception to this. The majority of recorded bulls sold had Beef Values in the breed’s top 10% and these made, on average, 2700gns/head more than non-recorded bulls at the spring and autumn sales in Carlisle.
This should come as no surprise in these times of enterprise scrutiny. Performance pays, no matter what your system.
Although running with similar levels of success, the clearance rates of performance recorded stock have not been so widely reported. Clearance is the term referring to the proportion of animals sold compared to the number put forward for sale. In 2010, the results for the combined spring and autumn Carlisle sales were as follows:
Table 1 Clearance Rates Carlisle Bull Sales 2010
|Beef Value||No. Sold||No. Unsold||% Clearance|
|Sub Total Recorded Bulls||213||89||71%|
|Non Recorded Bulls||63||57||53%|
Performance recorded bulls have been easier to place and are being purchased at a premium. The reasons for this are well-documented and are principally down to commercial stock produced by high genetic merit pedigree animals having higher end values and lower costs of production.
These results are testament to the increasing trust and reliance commercial buyers are placing on the genetic evaluation system and the dedication within the performance recording herds to generate it.
However, it’s not all about bull sales…
Whether selling pedigree stock for breeding, or using other outlets for your enterprise, the selection that goes on at home is of fundamental importance to all herds. Developments introduced over recent months by Signet and the Limousin Society are to assist breeders in making choices relevant to their herd, their system and their market.
New Docility EBV (Estimated Breeding Value)
Sufficient herd records had been submitted and collated by the early part of 2010 to enable development of the new Docility EBV to commence. Egenes (SAC) (partners in the Genesis Faraday initiative funding this work) are currently carrying out test BLUP runs with a view to integrating the EBV in the next breed evaluation published in March 2011.
Once available, this EBV will indicate animals with the genetic potential for calmness (or otherwise) when handled.
1 Genesis Faraday is a partnership between Roslin Institute, the Royal Vet College, MLC, the University of Edinburgh and Sygen International plc. Its role is to improve the co-ordination of the use of genetic and genomic technologies by the livestock breeding and animal health industries. (For more information go to www..genesis-faraday.org).
New Scrotal Circumference EBV
In 2010 funding was secured by the British Limousin Cattle Society and Signet through the Genesis Faraday ‘Spark’ initiative to develop a new Scrotal Circumference EBV for the breed. As with the Docility EBV, breeders have been submitting records over recent years to a point where we anticipate work being able to commence in the early part of 2011. The EBV will be developed and trialled over the summer of 2011 with a view to integrating it in to the breed evaluation by the latter part of 2011/early 2012.
Scrotal circumference is moderately heritable and is positively correlated not only with male fertility but also with the early maturity of female offspring. Selecting breeding bulls on the basis of their Scrotal Circumference EBV will help improvements in these two other related areas.
New Signet Reports
Over the last year or so, Signet has integrated a new style of BLUP report, Calf Performance Record and Weigh Sheet for breeders. After consultation, paper reporting was deemed to be most popular (although electronic outputs in Excel are available by request) and results are now shown for individual animals in A4 listings. A survey amongst recording member carried out in the late part of 2009 revealed:
- · 90% of respondents thought the reports were clearer to read
- · 90% of respondents thought the listings of animals were better or as good as before
The quality of feedback of results to members is important and we are constantly looking for ways of developing our service in this respect.
But it’s not all about the new stuff either…
Genetic Trend Reports
Each year, recording breeders receive a Genetic Trend report for their herd and for the breed. These are valuable bits of information since they illustrate the genetic changes taking place in a herd year on year and allow breeders to compare this with the rest of the breed.
If a herd considers it is making good genetic progress, it should be able to display rates of gain greater than these.
Genetic trend graphs are also available for the maternal trait EBVs, Beef Value, Calving Value and Maternal Value.
Whilst considering these trends, we also carried out an exercise looking at the changes that have taken place within the recorded and non-recorded Limousin populations over the last 10 years and compared the EBVs for the most popular sires:
a) Recorded and Non-Recorded Limousin Populations 1999 & 2009
|Table 2: 1999|
|Origin / Type||No. Bulls||No. Calves||Average Beef Value of Sires|
|British Recorded||647 (38%)||7728 (50%)||LM17|
|British Non Recorded||821 (48%)||5363 (35%)||LM14|
|French||232 (14%)||2249 (15%)||LM17|
|Total||1700 (100%)||15340 (100%)||LM15|
|Table 3: 2009|
|Origin / Type||No. Bulls||No. Calves||Average Beef Value of Sires|
|British Recorded||902 (43%)||9232 (50%)||LM27|
|British Non Recorded||886 (42%)||5818 (31%)||LM21|
|French||297 (14%)||3491 (19%)||LM23|
|Total||2085 (100%)||18541 (100%)||LM24|
In both tables above, the bulls are those that have sired at least one calf registered in 1999 and 2009 respectively. A ‘Recorded’ bull is defined as having a 400-day adjusted weight included within the BLUP analysis.
What is interesting to note from these statistics is:
- In both 1999 and 2009, 50% of Limousin calves were sired by a British recorded sire – but the proportion of calves sired by non-recorded British sires has decreased
- In both 1999 and 2009, the average Beef Value of the British recorded sires was greater than the non-recorded sires and the gap is widening (3 Beef Value points in 1999, 6 in 2009). This would imply the recorded population is making greater genetic gain than the non-recorded population as time goes on and supports what has been shown on the trend graphs above.
b) Comparison of EBVs for the Most Frequently Used Sires in 1999 and 2009
The following tables show the Beef Values of the 20 most-used sires (in terms of number of pedigree progeny born) in 1999 and 2009 respectively
Table 4 Most-Used Sires in 2009
|Mas du Clo||66||LM36|
Table 5 Most Used Sires in 1999
- The average Beef Value of the most frequently used sires 1999 is equivalent to just the average Beef Value of the breed today.
- The average Beef Value of the most frequently used sires in 2009 is equivalent to the Top 10% of the breed today.
This confirms the priority now given to selecting breeding animals on the basis of genetic merit compared with policy even just 10 years ago. More than ever before, the advantages from using the best are ever-increasing.
Animal Search Facility
Breeders are continuing to report the value of the breed’s on-line Basco search facility.
The site can be accessed by typing www.egenes.co.uk/bascosearchbeef in to your web browser or by following the link from the Limousin Society web site (www.limousin.co.uk then click on ‘Basco On-Line Herdbook’)
By selecting one of the toolbar options above, the following information can be accessed:
ü EBVs and Breeding Indexes (search by animal name or number, breeder or by EBVs).
ü Progeny details
ü Pedigree details
ü Ownership details
International EBV Comparisons
The British Limousin Cattle Society has co-funded research in to providing a BLUP evaluation that incorporates animals from the Great Britain, Ireland, France, Denmark and Sweden. Much work has taken place to date to standardise recording procedures, validate data and identify animals (different identities for the same animal in different countries do pose problems). The most numeric records in all countries is the 200 day weight and an across-country evaluation for this trait is planned for the early part of 2011. Breeders will be kept informed of this exciting development.
2010 has not been without its challenges and, with a foot and a half of snow on the ground at the time of writing, there will be more to come. The role that high performance genetics has to play in helping pedigree and commercial herds overcome trading and environmental obstacles is significant. With support and input from breeders, Signet and the British Limousin Cattle Society are committed to providing a quality genetic evaluation service enabling the breed to continue with successful rates of genetic improvement and the delivery of quality breeding stock to the commercial market.