At last week’s Teagasc Virtual Beef Conference, the new Commercial Beef Value was launched. This new selection tool for farmers with non breeding herds will have particular relevance to herds that are purchasing animals to bring to finish.

The new Commercial Beef Value (CBV) will have particular relevance to those herds that are purchasing calves, weanlings, stores and bringing them through to finish.

What is Commercial Beef Value?

The Commercial Beef Value (CBV) is a new tool for non-breeding beef farmers which will give them a better insight into an animal’s genetic merit. It comprises five traits from the Terminal Index that are important to a non-breeding drystock enterprise:

  • Carcass weight
  • Carcass conformation
  • Carcass fat
  • Docility
  • 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 ‘within breed type’ star rating will rank animals within that breed type. Farmers often have a set enterprise in terms of the type of animal they buy i.e. continental suckler weanlings, dairy x beef store heifers, Friesian bull calves. The ‘within breed type’ star rating will help farmers to identify the highest genetic merit animals within the breed type of interest to them.

The CBV will be available to farmers through their ICBF HerdPlus login under the ‘View Profiles’ section. It will also be displayed in marts from early 2022.

CBV’s will not be available on Pedigree beef males and females, dairy females and calved females.

Generally higher CBV values will mean better performance and higher carcass value so based on the three categories outlined above we would expect suckler progeny to have higher CBV € compared to dairy x beef and dairy X dairy stock, but within each category you would expect a range.

So if for example we look to buy a Friesian bull calf and two are presented, one has a CBV of -€80 and another has a CBV of +€5. The calf with a value of €5 has better beefing characteristics than the one at -€80 and should deliver €85 more than the calf with the lower value. The extra value will come as a result of possibly better feed efficiency, carcass weight, conformation etc.

It certainly helps to determine the genetic potential of various calves, which can be very difficult to judge just by viewing them at 2-3 weeks old.

Rollout of the CBV

In terms of rollout of the CBV for those of you currently on ICBF Herdplus you can view the CBV of animals in your herd by logging in and going into ‘View Profiles’ and it is listed under ‘General’

Throughout 2022 it will feature in articles in the farming media, at farm walks, it will be displayed on mart boards and ICBF will continue to develop output reports.

As purchasers it is important to understand what CBV means and what it might tell us in terms of the potential purchase value of an animal. With climate change there will be a greater onus on selecting animals of higher performance and efficiency and selecting the right genetics will be a significant part of this.

Given the potential number of calves that will come from the dairy herd and end up being finished on beef farms, can the CBV be used to signal to dairy farmers what will deliver for beef farmers? The CBV clearly shows that not all Friesian calves are the same nor are all dairy beef cross calves, and those that have the better genetics are worth more and will be more attractive to the purchaser.

If used correctly it will be a very useful tool for selecting beef animals across all categories but firstly we must understand it, begin to use it and signal its relevance to all elements of the supply chain.

Chris Daly, ICBF explains the CBV at the National Beef Conference below


Chris Daly joined Catherine Egan recently on the Beef Edge podcast to explain the new Commercial Beef Value (CBV) which was launched at the Teagasc Virtual Beef Conference last week.