Using a bull only for his ‘easy calving’ or ‘short gestation’ attributes can result in lighter carcasses. However, incorporating several traits simultaneously into selection decisions using an overall index (i.e., the Dairy Beef Index; DBI) can produce more balanced cattle with more favourable economic returns.

  • For example, sires that ranked best on calving traits alone (i.e., easy calving, short gestation, and low calf mortality) were compared with sires that ranked best on the DBI (Berry and Ring, 2020). These 2,192 beef sires had farm production records available from 3,065 dairy herds to make comparisons.
  • Relative to the best ranked sires on calving traits, the best ranked sires on DBI delivered heavier, more conformed carcasses that had a greater chance of meeting factory specifications for conformation.
  • The higher DBI sires achieved the additional performance without increasing the incidence of cow calving difficulty, without increasing gestation length, and without increasing calf mortality.
  • The additional revenue to the finisher that slaughtered 20 progeny from sires that ranked best on DBI over sires that ranked best on calving performance, was €829.40. For calving performance, the monetary benefit to the dairy farmer that had 20 calves from high DBI sires compared to sires that ranked best on calving performance was €79.60.

Accessing the Dairy Beef Index

The Dairy Beef Index is available for all beef animals via the:

  • Animal Search
  • Active Bull List
  • Sales Catalogue
  • Eurostar Profile
  • Stock Bull Finder

For more detailed information on the Dairy Beef Index, please click here