The trait data that farmers record as part of SCEP is a vital part of the ICBF genetic evaluation process and directly effects the Euro-Star indexes of the animals for which it is recorded. Therefore, it is important that the data is recorded as accurately as possible. The following is an outline of the traits to be recorded, their respective scales and how they should be interpreted.
Calving difficulty can be recorded at registration. If not recorded at this point, it can be recorded via the SCEP recording screens through an ICBF account, along with the other traits listed above. Once logged in, go to ‘Services’ > ‘SCEP’ and select the relevant trait (see figures 1 & 2).
Only compare animals to their herdmates
When recording these traits, it is important that farmers only compare each animal to other animals in the herd. Take docility as an example. A particular farmer’s animals could be used to regular handling and they might consider their herd to be very docile compared to the average suckler herd. This same herd, with the exact same animals, could be in another situation where they are not regularly handled and, therefore, might not be as docile. This is the environmental effect on docility. It is the genetic effect on docility that the ICBF evaluation is trying to quantify. This is measured by assessing the differences in docility between animals in the same environment (herd). All animals in a given herd might be relatively docile compared to the average suckler herd, but there should still be a range from the most to the least docile animal i.e. there should never be a situation where all animals in a herd receive the same sore for a particular trait.
ICBF will be issuing new Animal Events Recording Notebooks in the coming weeks. This will help farmers to collect SCEP data while in the field. The data can then be recorded on the ICBF database through a number of methods:
- Online through the SCEP recording screens at icbf.com.
- Via an approved farm software package/app.
- Via paper recording forms.
Farmers are encouraged to record data online where possible as it is quick, removes the risk of paper forms being lost and is better for the environment through reduced postage and paper use.
For any queries about the pocket notebook or the recording of SCEP trait data, please contact us on 023-8832883 or email [email protected]