Tully Co. Kildare is ICBF’s beef bull progeny performance test station. Each year some 500 young animals, progeny of former G€N€ IR€LAND Test bulls are purchased from breeding farms and tested for numerous efficiencies. The testing involves exposing the animals to uniform feeding and housing conditions, with the idea of further establishing the genetic potential of particular bulls (namely genetically superior bulls).
The animals (bulls/ steers and/or heifers) which are identified and purchased from Irish beef breeders, come in “intakes” (cohorts in age within two months birth dates) to have traits measured which include growth potential measured through weight gain vis a vis feed consumed, visual muscle and skeletal measures (linear scoring), docility and functionality (also measured by linear scorers), ultrasound fat and muscle, and finally feed intake which allows a cost of production to be placed on the output traits. At the end of the test they are slaughtered in “intake” batches and slaughter/carcass data recorded. Finally, traceable meat cuts are assessed for meat eating qualities.
All information is combined at the end of test with previous performance tested animals but also with commercially recorded data including calving and gestation information, weaning weight and calf value from the livestock marts, linear type classification from pedigree beef herds, carcass weight, carcass fat and carcass conformation data from the factories, as well as pedigree ancestry information stored on the ICBF database.
These results allow a genetic profile of all animals with records and related animals to be computed in the form of a €uro-star index. When animals commence the performance test their new information can help to improve or dis-improve their indexes in an equal measure. However the average genetic merit of the group tested will generally remain similar before and after the performance test.
Animal Type, Age & Purchasing
- G€N€ IR€LAND progeny with progeny from reference sires also included.
- Bulls, steers and heifers
- All sired by AI bulls of interest
- Bulls Preferably 9-13 months of age
- Steers Preferably 18-24 months of age
- Heifers Preferably 14-18 months of age
Acclimatization of animals (30 days)
Animals are allowed 30 days acclimatization, which ensures animals have time to get used to new home and are stress free. The feed regime for acclimatization is an “ad lib” diet for bulls and for steers is 8 kg meal and 5kg of hay per head per day.
While being acclimatized the animals in the intake are treated as follows;
90 Day Performance/Progeny Test
After the acclimatization period of 30 days the Performance Test test begins. During that period the following data is recorded:
Slaughter and Meat Eating Quality
At the end of the 90 days all animals are slaughtered. During slaughter the following readings are recorded/measured;
- Live weight pre slaughter – this is automatically uploaded to database from abattoir
- Stress Symptoms
- pH of meat
- Weigh/Scan/primal grading – after 48hr hang time the carcass is dissected into 19 cuts of meat which are individually weighed and images scanned for primal grading
- Meat Eating Quality – The RH side of the carcass (striploin) is dissected into 10 steaks and barcoded with relevant ID and batch details. These are sent to Teagasc Ashtown and Eolas Cork for Meat Eating Quality tests on tenderness, juiciness and flavour etc.
Results of the Intake Tests are summarised at the end of the 90 days and are stored and shared on ICBF website – see Commercial Progeny Test Results page Commercial Progeny Test Results