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Stackyard News Jan 08

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British Charolais Cattle Society Launches New Indexes

The British Charolais Cattle Society has introduced a Terminal Index (TI) and a Self Replacing Index (SRI), two new major Indexes to its Breedplan registration and genetic evaluation system.

Balmyle Bollinger

Each Index is reported as an Estimated Breeding Value (EBV), in units of relative earning capacity per cow mated for the given market, and reflects the potential profit generated by a sire for the production system.

The BCCS Terminal Index (TI) is a multi-trait index primarily designed for commercial producers. It ranks bulls by their genetic potential to produce Charolais crosses taken to target weight within 18 months. TI takes in Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) of recorded cattle for a range of traits split into three distinct sections: growth, conformation and calving ease direct.

The BCCS Self Replacing Index (SRI) is a multi-trait index primarily to help both pedigree and commercial producers breeding heifer replacements. SRI places emphasis on calving ease, gestation length and days between calves, together with production and conformation traits. In addition, SRI reflects the potential performance of pure Charolais steer performance finished to target weight within 16 months.

“These two new multi-trait Indexes will enable primary producers to identify bulls that will make a significant contribution towards maximising the number of weaned calves per year, their performance potential and subsequently the herd’s returns,” explains the society’s chairman Steven Nesbitt. “They should be used along with the index component EBVs to enable farmers to take full advantage of the Charolais breed’s accelerated genetic progress in their selection making decisions.

“Both indexes were compiled for UK conditions taking into account not only the recorded cattle data, but various production and financial parameters. Benefits and costs evaluated include those for the sale animal from birth to slaughter, and average running costs for a commercial herd – both variable and fixed costs, including family and paid labour. The latter is an element we believe to be particularly important at a time when cost structures are forcing more and more units to adopt extensive management strategies,” he says.

Mr Nesbitt adds: “For suckler producers using TI, then there’s no longer any reason why they shouldn’t buy a bull that will leave the highest performing progeny that are also easy to calve. On the other hand, SRI will enable both our breeders and commercial producers to identify bulls that will leave the most efficient beef producing heifer replacements.”

TI and SRI indexes will be updated on a regular basis by Breedplan’s manager, the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI). The indexes accompany each recorded animal in the British Charolais Herdbook and can be viewed on line; they will also be made available in pedigree catalogues and displayed at official society sales. Charolais EBVs and indexes are specific to Charolais cattle, and are not comparable across other beef breeds.

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British Charolais Cattle Society