IDENTIFY the traits driving profit in your cattle business and select bulls based on the genes they carry that can deliver those profit drivers.
Don’t be swayed by how fed up sale bulls might be, their age, the dam’s age or other factors like pests and disease affecting their physical appearance.
That was the take home message from Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) expert Tim Emery, who delivered a talk on the role genetics can play in boosting the eating quality of beef at a recent producer forum.
Based in Roma, Queensland, Mr Emery is an extension officer with the Tropical Beef Technology Services and was speaking at the recent Meat Standards Australia (MSA) awards at Gympie.
The three big ways a producer can influence their MSA Index via EBVs was via the intramuscular fat (IMF), the 400 and 600 day weight and the rib fat EBVs, he said.
“When you go bull buying or shop for semen straws for AI (artificial insemination) programs, what you are buying is genes and the mobile delivery system to influence the profitability of progeny going forward,” he explained.
“There is a big variation on how it’s done.
“A lot of producers look at an animal and assume, then take a gamble as to where their herd will be taken.
“On the flip side, others utilise the tools out there to assess the genetic merit of the animal they are buying.”
Feed was a key thing to think about, particularly in multi vendor sales, he said.
“Ask yourself how feed programs have had an influence - have these bulls been on oats for 100 days, a grain bin for 200 or purely out in the paddock,” Mr Emery said.
“Age is another consideration. Again people will pay big money for 28 to 30 month bulls while younger ones go out door a lot cheaper.
“And calves produced out of mature cows could be 30 to 40 kilograms heavier at weaning.
“What you should be really interested in is the genetic component.
“If you want the ideal MSA index, you have to have the genes to start with and then put into place the management system to optimise performance.”