2015-08-17   facebooktwitterrss

Beef Shorthorn Launches Type Classification Scheme

The Beef Shorthorn Society has launched a type classification scheme designed to enable members to accelerate breed progress and offer an improved functional suckler cow to meet with market demand.

The initiative which is believed to be the most comprehensive of its kind offered by any beef breed society, is designed to identify females with strong maternal traits and good structural soundness.

Beef Shorthorn Cow and calf

Beef Shorthorn Cow and calf

Delivered by independent professional classifiers, the two part scheme comprises a 14-trait linear classification together with a composite classification in four categories – body confirmation, beef character, legs and feet and mammary, which when added together provide the animal’s final score.

This final score together with the ranking – from Poor to Excellent, will be automatically appended to the animal’s name and made visible on pedigree certificates, Breedplan records and sales catalogues.

Beef Shorthorn Society’s Frank Milnes said:
“We are pleased to roll out this new voluntary initiative to all our members, free of charge. Breeders have made huge strides in the last two decades in developing an animal which meets the current insatiable demand for a functional suckler cow by using Breedplan data as well as their eyes and ears in their selection procedures.

“Introducing the opportunity for them to type classify their animals is the latest element to add to their tool kit. It will help to speed up breed improvement by enabling them to more readily identify females with the strongest maternal traits within their respective herds, along with good conformation and structural soundness.

Society vice chairman Sally Horrell whose family runs the Peterborough based 55 cow Pode Hole herd commented:
“Type classification is another tool to enable us to look closely at our breeding programme, improve the herd and ensure that we keep going forward on the right track. Furthermore, to have a classifier on the farm to type classify our herd is an exciting opportunity to benchmark our cows against a breed standard.

“It will highlight areas that we need to focus improvement on and also the strong traits within our herd. We will then be able to identify where these traits have come from in our breeding programme and tweak these as we go forward, which is always our intention when purchasing the next stock bull.

“As a vendor and purchaser of breeding bulls, then type classification will be an important part of our buying decisions. It is not always possible to get on farm to see the dam of a bull that we would wish to purchase, consequently in future, high classification scores throughout a dam line will give more confidence in the transaction.”

She adds:
“This scheme is very inclusive for all our members, whatever their herd size. It will enable them to improve their own herds which ultimately, will raise the standard in the national herd. As the scheme goes forward and it is more widely used, it will give the Society the opportunity to monitor traits and provide guidance through the benchmark to help keep the breed true to type.”

Beef Shorthorn

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