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Stackyard News Feb 08

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    Limousin Bull Buyers’ Survey Gives a High Approval Rate

Ninety six per cent of Limousin bull buyers will purchase another Limousin bull.

limousin calves

This ringing endorsement of the breed’s bull performance comes from the results of the buyers’ survey conducted by the British Limousin Cattle Society through October to December 2007.

Answering the last of twenty-eight wide ranging questions about the performance of the bulls and their progeny, ninety six percent of respondents confirmed that they would be buying another Limousin bull at future Society sales.

The extensive survey was conducted amongst the buyers of just under one thousand Limousin bulls sold at all society sales in 2004* and received an excellent response of 42 per cent. Questions on bull performance included: ability to work; calving ease, temperament of both bulls and their progeny; health issues; food conversion and growth rate; and performance of progeny. Buyers were also asked about their criteria for selecting and purchasing a bull and also how the progeny were subsequently marketed.

A significant and ongoing increase in market share was highlighted with over 18% of buyers confirming that they had changed breed of bull to a Limousin in the last five years. This increase has occurred in a period when annual BCMS figures have consistently shown the Limousin breed having a 35% market share of all beef sired calves. Over three-quarters of respondents, 76%, run one to three bulls with a further 20% running between three and seven. Of the bulls purchased, 71% were used in suckler herds; 20% were bought by members to be used in their pedigree and suckler herds; with 9% used in dairy herds. An exact split of the bulls saw 50% being sold to upland farms with 50% selling to lowland farms.

The importance of ease of calving, a trait of management and economic importance, was a highlight of the survey with 88% percent of respondents recording no calving problems at all. Of the characteristics of the breed most important to buyers, ease of calving also ranked first; with carcase traits and conformation second; and marketability of progeny third.

Ongoing breed improvement in docility also featured with only 4% of buyers replying that the bull they had purchased had what they deemed as a poor temperament. These encouraging figures come at a time when the BLCS has introduced a docility scoring system to further help breeders accelerate progress in this trait.

The breed’s benchmark traits of feed efficiency, feed conversion and carcase qualities produced an excellent satisfaction rate from buyers. Good food conversion, 94%, was singled out along with the breed’s ability to produce good calves from a variety of crossbred cows. 91% percent responded that the progeny had been up to the standard they had expected with 91% percent also commenting on good growth rates. The importance of the Limousin female also came strongly through in the survey with 61% of the respondents indicating that they kept heifer calves by their Limousin bulls as replacements. The purchasers were asked what breed of suckler cows made up their herds. An overwhelming 45% percent were Limousin x females with British Blue x females ranking second at 18% and Simmental cross females third at 14%. The predominant suckler herd size at 50% was thirty to one hundred females.

The importance to buyers of vendor’s herd health status at sales was also highlighted with 94% of respondents saying that this was a factor in their purchasing considerations. In 2007, the BLCS introduced Herd Health Declarations at the point of sale to increase understanding, accuracy and transparency of health information for customers.

Iain Kerr, the British Limousin Cattle Society’s Chief Executive, welcomed the figures and said: “Analysing the performance of bulls sold and giving customers the opportunity to feed back their views is a hugely important part of the breed’s ongoing development. The survey’s findings are very positive and show a high level of all-round performance and buyer satisfaction. The results will be circulated to members and will provide information for them to consider when they are making future breeding and selection decisions.”

link Sarkley Limousins Sell to 17,000gns at Carlisle
link Perth to Host European Aberdeen-Angus Forum
link British Charolais Cattle Society Launches New Indexes

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