The Greenup Family’s commitment to performance recording stems from a desire to breed cattle that will in turn breed both consistently and predictably. On a number of occasions in the past we were disappointed with the progeny of young sires whose sale weights and other ‘raw’ indicators of performance were very good.
It became obvious that some bulls were ‘looked after’ very well and performed well because of the extra feed they got. However, if they did not have the genetics to back up this performance, their progeny were relatively low performers. It is very difficult to decide between what is genetics and what is environment, especially when buying from a herd you haven’t bought from before.
By directly comparing only those cattle that have been grown in the same environment, Santa Gertrudis Group Breedplan has the ability to take environmental factors out of the equation and give us an indication of the actual genetic makeup of an animal. By linking herds through common pedigrees, Group Breedplan can compare cattle between herds.
When Rosevale first joined Breedplan about fifteen years ago, we only submitted weaning weights on all calves of known parentage and 400 Day weights and scrotal sizes of bulls within this group. While the resulting EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values) were of use to us, it is obvious to us now that there was not enough information to calculate accurate EBVs.
The Rosevale Herd is now one of the most extensively and accurately performance recorded herds in the Santa Gertrudis breed.
Annual records submitted to Santa Gertrudis Group Breedplan include:
- Weaning weights on all calves
- 400 Day weights and flight times on all yearlings
- Muscle and fat scans and scrotal sizes on all yearling bulls
- 600 Day weights on all bulls and heifers
- Mature weights on all cows when calves are weaned (maximum of 4 times)
- Mating dates of all females
- The above data combines with accurately recorded birth dates and pedigrees and clearly defined management groups to ensure the calculation of accurate Breedplan EBVs for Rosevale cattle.
All of our stud cattle now have known pedigrees – through either single sire mating or DNAing to determine sires. This cuts down on the open-ended pedigrees created by ‘Multiple’ sires and dams and therefore helps build on generations of recorded performance.
Compared to the past, more weights are taken. This means a little more work for us but we are very satisfied with the results we are getting. The recording of Mature Cow Weights has had a big impact on the accuracy of all growth EBVs as it helps Breedplan accurately ‘map’ the growth pattern of each animal.
It concerns us that some stud breeders talk negatively about the accuracy of Breedplan. In most cases, the performance recording within the herds that these people are associated with fails for one or more of the following reasons:
- Lack of data (eg. only one or two weights recorded)
- Poor management grouping (directly comparing cattle from different environments)
- Inaccurate birth date and/or pedigree recording
When performance records are both complete and accurate, Breedplan has the ability to give an accurate indication of the genetic makeup of an animal.
Because of the thorough recording carried out in our herd Rosevale bulls have their Performance Proven.
Breedplan only calculates EBVs for traits that are measurable and therefore helps ‘tell part of the story’. Visual appraisal for structure, temperament and conformation along with such things as vet assessments of semen quality must be used in conjunction with Breedplan EBVs to select an animal that is functional and suited to your environment, management and markets.