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A group from AHDB recently visited ICBF. The group also visited the Suckler farm of Heinz Eggert, Sallins, Co. Kildare and the pedigree Limousin and suckler farm of Jim Parkinson, Cashel, Co. Tipperary. 

ADHB are the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in the UK. Their purpose is to inspire their farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. They equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how, which their farmers can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. AHDB is a statutory levy board and is funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain.

Throughout the visit many interesting topics were discussed including the function of the ICBF and its database. The role of Eurostar indexes in Irish cattle breeding. The Whole herd performance recording program. The BDGP (Beef Data & Genomics Program) and the vast amounts of data it is generating. The AHDB group were also very interested in the Gene Ireland Breeding programs for Beef, Beef, and Dairy beef. The group also visited the Tully progeny Test Centre, Co. Kildare. The Tully Progeny Test Centre is located in Kildare town, County Kildare. The center currently runs a 120-day performance test for heifer, steer and bulls from progeny off AI sires.

The heifers are fed 10kg concentrates and 3 kg hay fresh weight. The bulls are on ad-lib concentrates and hay. The steers are fed 8 kg concentrates and 3 kg hay freshweight. All intakes are recorded for individual animal.

All cattle are acclimatized for the first 30 days and they are finished for the final 90 days. Over this 90-day period, data is recorded on all of the cattle on a daily basis in the form of Daily feed Intake. This combined with weekly weight recording enables a calculation of Average daily gain (g/day) and Feed conversion efficiency (DMI/ADG). All cattle are linear scored and scanned for muscle depth, fat depth, intramuscular fat (mm) and measured for scrotal circumference (cm).

The bulls are slaughtered between 15 and 18 months, while steers and heifers are slaughtered between 17 and 23 months of age.

Carcass measurements recorded at the factory:

  • Meat quality
  • Carcass weight, fat and conformation
  • Primal yields
  • British spec
  • 19 different cuts
  • pH
  • Hourly and ultimate
  • Meat eating quality
  • Colour of loin
  • Visual marbling of the loin
  • Composition analysis
  • Intramuscular fat %, protein % & moisture %
  • Cook loss and shear force
  • Sensory analysis
  • NIRS spectra images