A key part of the strategic plan is to increase the uptake of Estimate Breeding Values across the Limousin breed.
The reason for this is two-fold, firstly because having a fully characterised herd means that breeders are best equipped to make genetic gain and secondly because increasingly bull buyers are demanding this information to help them make informed decisions about the bulls they are buying.
This doesn’t mean the type of traits that you have been selecting for aren’t important, it simply provides an extra tool to make decisions about the best animals to retain or buy for breeding.
Estimated breeding values are the best prediction for an animal’s genetic merit and give a good indication of how an animal’s progeny will perform.
EBVs are available for all the traits that matter when it comes to profitability. The most important thing when starting to use EBVs is to have a clear and well thought out breeding plan. This is often referred to as a Breeding Objective.
Your breeding objective, or genetic plan, is unique to you. It will be associated with the type of cattle that you enjoy breeding, the traits that you see as important for profitability in your area and the traits that people that buy cattle from you see as important.
It is worth sitting down and spending the time to determine exactly what it is you are aiming for with your cattle. A good way of thinking about is; how would you like your cattle you are breeding in 10 years to differ from the cattle you have today.
Try and make each of your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. Eg In 10 years’ time I want my cattle to be 15kg heavier at 400 days of age than they are today under the same nutritional environment.
When thinking about the traits that you will focus on improving, I encourage you to think about it across four different platforms:
- The traits that make you money
- The traits that save you money
- The traits that save you time and
- The traits that delight a customer
Try and have at least one trait under each of these banners. This is what we call a balanced genetic plan that considers the breeding program in a holistic way.
We have developed a template to lead you through the decision making process. If you would like a copy of this template emailed out to you, please let me know email@example.com