FAQ: How is a bull’s ‘Conformation’ figure calculated?

There are 4 factors that will both contribute to what ‘Conformation’ index figure your bull starts out with and also how it changes over time.1.Backpedigree, 2.Genotype, 3. Foreign Data, 4.Irish Data

1.Backpedigree
The first ‘Conformation’ index that a bull will receive is called a ‘Parent Average’ index. As the name suggests it is an average figure that is calculated from the index figures that his sire & dam have at the time of his birth. If the index figure of a close relative of the bull moves up or down significantly then this will also affect the index figure of the bull himself.

2. Genotype
When a sample of DNA (e.g. hair or a straw of semen) is sent off and the genotype comes back this will then alter the figure that the bull got in his first evaluation run which would have been through his ‘parent average’ as explained above. So there could be a difference in a bull’s ‘Conformation’ from his very first evaluation compared to the one after the genotype has been included.

3. Foreign Data
If a bull already has an index for ‘Conformation’ in another country and this data is sent to ICBF then this will also have an impact on shaping his ‘Conformation’ index in Ireland. ICBF routinely gets files of such index values from countries such as the UK and France.

4. Irish Data
The conformation data on the bull’s progeny will be the final piece of the jigsaw in terms of his ‘Conformation’ index.

Reliability %
The number of herds across which his progeny are spread together with the number of herdmates that were sent to the factory with them will determine by how much the reliability figure increases.

Bull examples:

‘Attribut du Fond de Bois’ is a Belgian Blue AI Sire. In terms of steps 1-3 above: His backpedigree is in the ICBF database, as is his genotype. He is a Belgian bull. Currently we don’t get Belgian data sent to us however ICBF is heavily involved in an ongoing international project called ‘Interbeef’ which will in time incorporate data from countries such as Belgium. That said, we can see that he has a conformation score in Belgium of ‘114’ which is excellent. So this bull’s backpedigree and genotype were what his first set of €uro-Stars were based on.

In terms of his ‘Irish Data, the ‘Conformation’ data of his progeny can be seen in the ICBF ‘Animal Search’ facility:
1. Go to www.icbf.com
2. Go to the Animal Search facility down the right hand side of the website and enter in ‘Attribut du Fond de Bois’ (or his AI Code ‘AFF’).
3. Click on ‘Carcass Conformation (1-15 scale)’ which is shaded in blue.
4. Scroll down to the table that says ‘Sire Progeny and Progeny Herdmate Information’.

Carcass Performance of Progeny
The table above show the performance averages for his progeny:

Average (days): This shows that his progeny were on average exactly the same age as their herdmates when they were finished. This is a positive as it shows that his progeny did not need to be held onto and fed for longer to finish them which would have incurred more cost.

Carcass Weight (kg): His progeny had an average carcass weight of 391kgs versus their herdmates at 378kgs.

Conformation: On average his progeny had better conformation grades (U) compared to their herdmates (R+)

Fat (1-5 scale): His progeny had a fat score of ‘3-‘ compared to their herdmates who averaged a ‘3’.

Putting all of these pieces of information together results in ‘Attribut du Fond de Bois’ being rated as a 5 star bull for ’Carcass Conformation’ in Ireland, across breed, with a 93% reliability rating.

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