As we know data is collected on progeny test cattle at Tully on traits used in €uro-Star indexes such as feed intake and growth rate. However, new difficult to measure traits such as meat-eating quality and GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions are also evaluated.

Methane data is captured using a Greenfeed system. Animals are enticed to use the system with small amounts of meal that drops at set intervals. The animal is then identified by the Greenfeed machine through its RFID tag. As the animal consumes the feed, the air surrounding the animal’s head, including that of which is exhaled is extracted via a fan. It is then passed by sensors and a value for each animal’s methane emissions are determined.

  • 700 animals are finished at the Tully Test Centre annually (bulls, steers & heifers).
  • All progeny are by AI Sires and are DNA verified.
  • 60% of the animals are from dairy dams and the remainder are out of suckler dams.
  • Methane data collected on animals from the same breed is showing a variation of 17% variation per kilo of live-weight produced. Since late 2018 data has been collected on 1600 animals to-date, comprising of bulls, steers and heifers across a wide range of breeds.
  • Greenfeed trailers are also now being used to collect methane data at grass.
  • Meat quality work is continuing to record valuable sensory and meat yield data (in conjunction with MTI): Ph Decline, Colour of the Loin, Ultrasound and visual marbling data.

Table 1: Analysis of 841 suckler bred steers that went through Tully.

841 Suckler bred steers that went through Tully were analyzed at the end of their trial period for the various traits including methane. They were divided up based on their star ratings at the start of the trial. The star rating system was found to have ranked the animals in line with how they then performed.

There was a €1.15/day difference in feed costs and €140 in carcass value in favour of the 5 star terminal
index steers over the 1 star terminal index steers. These trends are similar for suckler bred heifers and bulls.