Online Research a Huge Benefit to Livestock Farmers at Sales

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Dent

LIVESTOCK farmers are urged to invest a little extra time in research ahead of this season's bull and ram sales. The English Beef and Lamb Executive (Eblex) says time taken now will pay dividends in the long-run and research can be easily undertaken online.

Sam Boon, manager of Signet breeding services, said: "Most sale catalogues show Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) for each recorded entry and there is a wealth of additional bull and ram EBV information on the internet, with increasingly easy-to-use search facilities through BASCO (via www.signetfbc.co.uk) and Breedplan (via individual breed society websites).

"These data allow producers to rapidly and reliably assess the genetic strengths and weaknesses of the breeding stock available against their own farm priorities - growth rates, carcase attributes, ease of birth or maternal traits - so they can draw up a shortlist of the best candidates for their attention at the sales. They can also check on these individuals' parentage to ensure they avoid stock too closely-related to their own."

Many websites now provide bar chart information, allowing users to compare genetic gains on a range of characteristics compared to the breed average. Going online is also valuable to cross-check the completeness and accuracy of EBV information in sales catalogues, Mr Boon added. …