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Stackyard News Jul 07

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Holstead Charolais Wins Most Improved Herd

The Holtstead herd of Charolais cattle owned by F & J Andrews of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, has been recognised by EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive) and Farmers Guardian as the Most Improved Herd of Charolais 2006/07.

2006 Overall Scottish and Northern Charolais Champion, and the
Cumberland Show's Interbreed winner, HOLSTEAD VELVET


The award is presented by the EBLEX Beef Better Returns Programme (Beef BRP) to the recorded herd* that shows the most impressive improvement to its genetic merit over a 12 month period. There is a separate award for each of eight UK breeds.

Fred Andrews of F & J Andrews said: “I knew my figures had improved, but winning this award was still quite a surprise. I think recording is important and I have been doing it since the eighties. We’ve always had good females in our herd so when we matched them with high index bulls, we found a formula that seems to work well. We were delighted to win this award.

“Since the introduction of EBVs, it has been a fresh challenge for pedigree breeders like ourselves to ensure good genetic values for our cattle. We hope that the superior EBVs in the herd compliment the excellent appearance of our cattle. I still give a high priority to good locomotion and breed character, which must be maintained if the Charolais, or indeed any breed, continues to develop. With these traits already accounted for in my selection of breeding animals, I can select further using EBVs with confidence. So, too, can my customers have that confidence in these EBVs.”

The award was presented at the Great Yorkshire Show in July by EBLEX Regional Manager, Steve Powdrill.

Netta de la Cour, Beef BRP Project Manager, EBLEX, said: “Using EBVs in a commercial herd can improve returns by around £30 per calf. Through this award we hope to highlight not only the excellent progress made by breeders but also the opportunities available to beef producers.”

David Benson, Chief Executive of the British Charolais Cattle Society, said: “I am very pleased for the Holtstead herd which is an excellent example of the quality available to commercial producers through the Charolais breed.

“It shows that through recording the cattle and using high-index bulls of good calving value, sound genetic progress can be made which will be required for future suckler beef production as the single farm payments are reduced. We need to identify easy calvers with fast growth rates and good conformation.”

*A recorded herd is one that has had its Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) measured and recorded. EBVs describe the potential genetic traits of a bull or dam that will be passed on to their progeny. For example, if a beef producer wishes to reduce the time it takes for their cattle to mature to slaughter weight, they would choose a bull whose Growth Rate EBV is higher than the average.

link EBLEX Beefs Up Eating Quality
link Annual Breeding Gains Valued at Nearly £7 Million
link Serbia to Reopen Beef Trade?

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