From 1st January 2012, the British Blue Cattle Society recommends that all AI sires are tested for a series of potential genetic defects with a view to identifying and eliminating them from the British Blue herdbook. The information as to whether an animal is free of ("F") or a carrier ("C") of up to 8 genetic defects is to be found in the "Other Info" box for each respective bull as well as within each bull's pedigree certificate.
Free of the defect "F"
Carrier of the defect "C"
Not tested "-"
Congenital Muscular Dystonia I "CMD1"
Congenital Muscular Dystonia II "CMD2"
Crooked Tail Syndrome "CTS"
Proportionated Dwarfism "DW"
Gingival Hamartoma & Osteopetrosis "HAM"
Prolonged Gestation "PG"
Arthrogryposis & Cleft Palate "AP"
Protruding Tongue "PT"
Sexed Semen has now become an important management tool for farmers, offering a pathway to intensify breed and secure the best possible genetic progress within the herd. The success rate of sexed semen is now considered to be 90% with a conception rate on par with conventional semen.
Female Sexed Semen. The demand for beef from the dairy herd is high with buyers seeking top quality crossbred calves rather than dairy bull calves. In both the beef and dairy sectors, replacement heifer prices are at an all time high, with farms expanding in an attempt to meet the demand. Furthermore, animal health & welfare is a key factor at consumer, supermarket and government level, making easily calved heifers a priority. Bulls with sexed semen are listed on the Sexed Semen sidebar.
Male Sexed Semen. This breeding tool is generally aimed at commercial producers wishing to benefit from greater numbers of bull calves born with their corresponding growth and finishing efficiencies.
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) & Performance Recording
Many factors influence the appearance and performance of a bull, so selecting ‘by eye' alone can be misleading. The only accurate way of assessing the genetic potential of a bull (i.e. what he can pass on to his calves) is by using Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Indexes.
What are EBVs and Indexes?
Estimated Breeding Values are measures of the genetic potential of an animal for individually recorded traits. They are calculated from the performance data of recorded animals and the data of all their known relatives, where the effects of the environment (feeding, management, disease, climate etc) are sifted out to leave an estimate of the genetic value for each trait. In general, EBVs are accompanied by Indexes which give a simple overview of each trait whereby a score of 100 is breed average. Anything below 100 is below breed average; anything above 100 is above breed average. Note, EBVs allow you to compare animals within a breed; they DO NOT allow you to compare one breed with another.
The majority of pedigree beef breed societies offer performance recording services to their members, based either on the Signet or Breedplan systems. On Semenstore, when you click on a bull's "Full Figures & Pedigree" you will be directed to the appropriate page which will display information including EBVs and back pedigrees to allow you to assess a bull's genetic potential for a given trait.
Using the right animal genetics can help the beef industry become more efficient and profitable. AHDB have developed the National Beef Evaluations database, providing estimated breeding values (EBVs) for five commercial carcase traits plus three new maternal EBVs in beef cattle, using national data from processors, breed societies and the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).
The five commercial carcase traits are:
Days to slaughter
Carcase fat class
Average daily carcase gain
The three maternal traits are:
Age at first calving
A more detailed explanation of Limousin EBVs is available.
Many Pedigree Cattle Breed Societies administer a Semen Royalty Scheme whereby all pedigree calves registered with the respective Society generate a Semen Royalty fee if the calf is by a Royalty Sire. A fee, which is dependant on the bull, is payable by the person registering the calf and is thereafter credited to the owner of the Semen Royalty; or in some cases a Semen Royalty certificate is purchased from the Semen Royalty owner by the person wishing to register a calf. Semen Royalties do not apply to commercial/crossbred calves. Limousin & British Blue bulls with Semen Royalties are listed on the Royalty Sires side bar with the Semen Royalty fee in question displayed on the individual bull pages. Purchasers should nevertheless satisfy themselves beforehand as to the Semen Royalty status of a particular bull that they are considering purchasing.
SUPERIOR BEEF PRODUCTION AND INCREASED EFFICIENCY THROUGH GENE DISCOVERY
The myostatin gene influences the production of a protein that controls the development of muscle in cattle causing what is commonly referred to as 'double muscling'.
Myostatin - double muscling - in Limousin cattle (and many other beef breeds) is not a new phenomenon and DNA tests for Myostatin are now easily available.
For breeders, knowing the Myostatin status of animals within herds will be important for the choices and options it offers herd management and breeding programmes.
For purchasers, and across the industry, it will similarly allow choices to be made based on knowledge and understanding when buying cattle. This information leaflet explains more about Myostatin and how the information can be used in herds. There are nine known variants of the gene with four being predominantly found in the UK, E226X, F94L, Q204X and nt821.
A 'Green' gene (F94L) which increases the weight of prime cuts by 19% and overall beef yield by 7% has been discovered by researchers at Adelaide University in Australia. The gene, is shown to occur with high frequency in Limousin cattle but with very low frequencies in other breeds.
Some Limousin bulls on Semenstore have been tested for the F94L "Green" gene. As with all genes, bulls may have zero, one or two copies of the gene. Search the F94L Tested sidebar to find bulls which have been tested and/or where the results are known.