Following the Dairy Beef Calf Programme 2021 ICBF have developed a new report to give farmers more information on the animals that were weighed. These reports are now available to herds who weighed as part of the Dairy Beef Calf Programme 2021 on their ICBF accounts under the ‘View Reports’ section and will be posted to all herds in the next few days.
130,000 Dairy x Beef animals were weighed as part of the programme in over 6,000 herds. The weight data gathered will help to improve the accuracy of ICBF’s genetic indexes and reports. In the Dairy Beef Weight report there are a number of developments or terminologies that might be new to many Dairy Beef producers such as; calf 200 day weight, the CBV and the DBI.
200 Day Weight
The report aims to benchmark Dairy x Beef calves by predicting a 200 day weight for each animal. This is done similarly to a weaning weight in a suckler calf or a dairy cow’s 305 day milk yield to accurately compare an animals performance to its comrades and allow farmers to benchmark their animals performance against other herds. Each calf’s weight is adjusted to 200 days of age so that the performance of all calves can be compared. An 8-month old calf will generally be heavier than a 5-month old calf on a given day, but the younger calf could have a higher average daily gain (ADG). The adjusted 200-day weight removes the effect of age and highlights the fastest growing animals.
Commercial Beef Value (CBV)
The Commercial Beef Value (CBV) is a new tool for non-breeding beef farmers which was launched this spring. The CBV will give an insight into an animal’s genetic merit for traits that are important to a non-breeding drystock enterprise.
- Carcass weight
- Carcass conformation
- Carcass fat
- Feed intake
The CBV is expressed as a € value like the Replacement and Terminal Indexes with both ‘within breed type’ and ‘across breed’ star ratings.
There are three ‘within breed type’ categories:
- Suckler (beef sire and beef dam)
- Dairy x Beef (one dairy parent and one beef parent)
- Dairy x Dairy (dairy sire and dairy dam)
The CBV should be used by drystock farmers when buying non breeding animals. The CBV is available to farmers through their ICBF HerdPlus login under the ‘View Profiles’ section. ICBF are also working with marts and the wider industry to get CBV figures displayed on mart boards. More information on the CBV can be found here New Commercial Beef Value (CBV) – ICBF
Dairy Beef Index (DBI)
The Dairy Beef Index (DBI) is a breeding goal for Irish dairy and beef farmers to promote high quality beef cattle bred from the dairy herd that are more saleable as calves and profitable at slaughter yet, they have minimal consequences on the calving difficulty or gestation length of the dairy cow. It does this by ranking beef cattle for use in the dairy herd based on their genetic merit for several traits that are important to dairy-beef production systems (i.e., calving and beef traits). DBI should be used by dairy farmers when selecting beef bulls (AI or Stockbull) to use on their cows. Particular attention should be given to the beef sub index to produce good quality Dairy x Beef animals. More information on DBI can be found here Dairy Beef Index (DBI)
All weight data recorded in the scheme will be used in genetic evaluations within the ICBF database. An analysis of the 200 day weights shows that 5 star Dairy x Beef calves on CBV within their breed type are 10kgs heavier at 200 days of age versus their 1 star comrades. This shows that CBV is a good indicator of animal growth rates as this includes data from across 6,000 herds. It is hoped a greater focus on breeding with higher DBI bulls improve these figures more in next few years. 31% of animals weighed for the Dairy Beef Calf Programme in 2021 have no sire recorded. Without full parentage recorded performance data such as liveweights can not be linked back to the sires of animals and this is a missed opportunity for the industry. We would encourage all farmers to record sires on their Dairy x Beef calves as this will further increase the reliability of the DBI and CBV.
|CBV (Within Dairy Beef Type)
|200 Day Weight (kg)
|Average 200 Day Weight (kg)
|Average Daily Gain(kg/day)
|Average CBV (€)
|% with Unrecorded Sire
Dairy Beef Calf Programme 2022
The Dairy Beef Calf Weight Programme for 2022 is now open to applications on DAFM’s website Agfood.ie the scheme is open to applications until April 28th with up to €800 available to weigh Dairy x Beef calves, more information can be found at gov.ie – Dairy Beef Calf Programme as part of Beef Sector Efficiency Programmes (www.gov.ie)
ICBF would encourage all Dairy x Beef producers to apply to this programme so we can continue to build on the improvements made in 2021.