Basically, the rate at which the €uro-Stars of animals in your herd improves depends on how aggressively you select and cull your breeding stock based on their €uro-Star values. That is a very simplistic answer and there are of course many different factors to take into account in everyone’s herd such as herd size & opportunity to cull & use AI etc. That said following are some basic guidelines that will gradually help you improve the €uro-Star ratings of your stock over time.
- Join Herdplus – Herdplus will give you the information to become familiar with the €uro-Stars of your stock.
- Record all of their calving ease survey data accurately
- Record ‘Missing Sires’ – Record the sires of any animals in your herd for which the sire is currently unknown.
- Weight Record – Weigh your youngstock while they are still suckling their dam’s. For Pedigree Breeders Join up to the Whole Herd Performance (WHPR) and get your whole pedigree herd performance recorded by ICBF. Joining the BEEP programme, if you haven’t already done so will also cover your weighing data. Both WHPR and BEEP also covers the weighing of the cow which is a crucial piece of data to be getting recorded on your herd.
- Genotype – Make sure to return any requested DNA samples to ICBF for the genomic evaluations of your stock.
- Use A.I. – I. will give you access to a wide range of Bulls with high reliability and excellent €uro-Star ratings. If you have a Stockbull, using some AI in your herd is still highly recommended so as his progeny can be benchmarked against AI Sired stock thus influencing his own €uro-Stars.
- BDGP – Fulfilling their data recording & genotyping requirements as part of the BDGP will also add to the overall accuracy of the €uro-Star system.
Pedigree Breeders should always remember that the unique situation in Ireland, different to nearly all other countries is that the pedigree and commercial animals are all interconnected on the same database. So, when you sell a bull, in most countries, that’s the end of the story, however in Ireland its really only the beginning. Any data recorded on the progeny of that bull will obviously affect his €uro-Stars, but the €uro-Stars of his dam and any other relations of his could also change because of how he is doing in that commercial herd.
Equally commercial farmers have a huge role to play in ensuring that they record data accurately. This data feeds back into the €uro-Star evaluations of AI and Stockbulls on which other farmers will be putting their trust in when making decisions. So, by everyone contributing then everyone can benefit from what the data tells us. For example if a new AI Sire is siring cattle with very poor docility and this is being recorded through the BDGP scheme on that bull’s progeny by participating farmers, then a farmer that is thinking of using him for the first time the following year will have been fore warned about the docility problem.