'Beef forgets to teach commercial buyers'

Consultant Dr Jason Trompf says beef industry needs to educate producers on estimated breeding values

Beef
Consultant Dr Jason Trompf delivers the Bred Well Fed Well workshops and scrutinised how well the beef industry thought EBVs were understood.

Consultant Dr Jason Trompf delivers the Bred Well Fed Well workshops and scrutinised how well the beef industry thought EBVs were understood.

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The topic was raised at the Limousin conference in Armidale.

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The beef world has so much technology in place it could almost fly to the moon, but it's forgotten to take the industry along for the ride.

That was the assessment by consultant Dr Jason Trompf during the Limousin conference in Armidale.

With the event focusing on sharing the benefits of selection tools and future developments, Dr Trompf scrutinised their success when quoting research by Meat and Livestock Australia that found just six per cent of commercial beef producers use the Breedplan database to find animals.

Only about 15 per cent of participants at his Bred Well Fed Well workshops had clear breeding objectives and put them to work when selecting bulls.

"The bull you are buying today, by the time you keep it for four or five years and keep the daughters for six or eight years, it's a 20 year decision," he said.

"The average bull buyer is spending about two hours on the 20 year decision. We are treating gene harvesting with contempt in this industry."

Dr Trompf has run 40 specialised beef workshops attended by 1000 people representing 500,000 head.

About 50 per cent of those producers were involved in crossbreeding operations and he said breed emphasis was hurting the industry.

"You say what are you crossbreeding with and he says I've got Angus cows and I crossbreed with Simmental because they give me growth, but which one are you buying, the top one per cent or the bottom one per cent for growth?" he said.

It was a problem that had major impacts for seedstock producers, especially when bull buyers with a terminal lens retained their females and were disappointed in the product later.

He also questioned why the beef industry was still presenting raw weights during sales.

He said the value of a bull was mainly governed by his weight on sale day but it was extremely misleading; a prospective buyer could select a bull with average 400-day weight EBVs from 500kg to 1000kg in the flesh.

"The trait of growth in Angus is 23 per cent heritable so 77 per cent of the weight of the bull on the day of the sale has nothing to do with the genes so why in the beef industry do we still put up raw body weights?" he said.

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