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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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CBV to go live on mart boards

The ICBF (Irish Cattle Breeding Federation) has set March 1st, 2023, as the date when its new CBV (Commercial Beef Value) rankings will appear for some animals on display boards in livestock marts nationwide.

As reported by That’s Farming, the federation’s new tool is relevant to non-breeding (drystock) herds purchasing animals – calves, weanlings, stores – and bringing them to finish to provide a “better insight” into an animal’s genetic merit.

The CBV will appear in the same format as the Replacement Index with a star rating, which is currently displayed on mart boards, for animals that are genotyped and are also in a herd subscribed to the ICBF Herdplus service.

The CBV consists of five traits from the terminal index that are important to a non-breeding drystock enterprise:

  • Carcass weight;
  • Also, carcass conformation;
  • Carcass fat;
  • Docility;
  • Feed intake.

Moreover, the CBV is expressed as a € value, like replacement and terminal indexes, with both ‘within breed type’ and ‘across breed’ star ratings.

According to the ICBF, the following animals (prime) will have CBVs:

  • Commercial suckler males and uncalved females – Once a suckler calves, the CBV will be unavailable;
  • All dairy males and dairy-cross beef males;
  • Uncalved females.

The following animals will not have a CBV available:

  • Pedigree beef males and females – not a breeding index as for animals destined for slaughter;
  • Dairy females;
  • Calved females.

Previously in a statement, the ICBF said: “Farmers often have a set enterprise in terms of the type of animal they buy, i.e. continental suckler weanlings, dairy x beef store heifers, Friesian bull calves.”

“The ‘within breed type star rating will help farmers to identify the highest genetic merit animals within the breed type of interest to them.”

“The CBV will be available to farmers through their ICBF HerdPlus login under the ‘View Profiles’ section,” the spokesperson added.

Daly comments

Chris Daly from the ICBF told Catherine Egan during an episode of Teagasc’s Beef Edge podcast:

“There was a big concern there where farmers buying animals were doing so with very little information at hand, particuarly on the dairy-beef side.”

“If you think about calves going through the mart, for example, the only thing the farmer really ascertains from looking at the calf was the breed make-up, but apart from that, you had no idea as to what their genetic merit was.”

“What farmers were finding, and this is what was coming back very much to Teagasc advisors out on the ground, was that 18 and 24 months later, when farmers were trying to finish these animals, they were seeing dramatic differences between calves –  even calves from the same breed, and even in some circumstances, calves coming from the same herd where different stock bulls or AI bulls were being used.”

“So this tool will give farmers more insight into the genetic make-up of animals and help them make more informed decisions when buying them.”

He previously said: “The CBV is not a breeding index. This CBV tool will assist when selecting beef animals to take through to slaughter or, perhaps, to graze and sell on again as stores.”

“Farmers need a tool which gives them an insight into the genetic merit of an animal to help them make more informed purchasing decisions.”

What the figures mean

According to ICBF, generally, higher CBV values will mean better performance and higher carcass value.

In its latest January 2023 (24th) evaluation, the federation added a number of new traits, including age at slaughter and % for spec, for three carcass traits – weight, conformation and fat – while it also included a carbon sub-index to account for the carbon cost of producing these animals.

The ICBF will publish its next round of genetic evaluations on March 21st, 2023, followed by May 23rd, 2023, and July 25th, 2023.

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