Performance Testing

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The Society’s main objective is to provide its members with a comprehensive self-financing service comparable to the best in the world at local-market related prices.  Besides the world known herd book system, annual consulting services, annual farm visit and the other well known Sim-services, we offer a world recognized performance recording system. (CP Massmann)

By integrating our Society’s modern pedigree and inspection systems with the world’s most advanced beef cattle genetic evaluation system viz. BREEDPLAN International, estimated breeding values (EBV’s) are calculated for a range of important characteristics and supplied to the breeders.  Comparisons based on weights and/or indexes are history and not recommendable at all in modern animal husbandry.

What are breeding values (EBV's)?

“Selection based upon EBV’s is 5 to 9 times more accurate than selection based upon performance indices.”
(Dr J Cowley, USA).

When you look at a bull a large portion of what you see is controlled by the environment (food, management, weather, etc.) and the smaller portion is due to genetics.  Only the genetic component is transmitted to his progeny. However, we can’t see this genetic component separately from the environment’s influence and therefore we can’t tell:

    ■  how much milk a bull’s daughter will give;
    ■  how fertile his daughters will be;
    ■  how big his calves will be at birth and
    ■  how fast his progeny will grow.

The EBV’s are the genetic merit of an animal and therefore selection decisions are based world wide mainly on EBV’s.  EBV’s are expressed in units of measurement (kg) and are shown as  +  or  -  from the breed average.

How do I get EBV's for my stud & commercial animals?

A)  Submit birth notifications (BN) in one batch when the oldest calf of the group is approximately three  months old and include dead and culled calves – thus not more than 4
      X per year.  Complete the following if accuracy is determinable:
    ■  Calving ease code if observed correctly for ALL calvings (refer [1] below) – strongly recommended.
    ■  Birth weight determined within 24 hours after birth – don’t guess the weight, weigh ALL calves accurately or don’t weigh at all (refer [2]).
    ■  Management code letter if calving was effected by pre-birth management of dam (refer [3]).
    ■  The eye pigment codes (refer [4]) if you are interested in breeding values.

B)  Participating herds receive a 200-day weighing list from the office.  Weigh ALL  the animals on the list (including culled/commercial) between 80 and 300 days old as
      largest possible group together.  Keep the group you weigh as large as possible.  Weighing of dams is recommended but not compulsory.

C)  On request you receive pre-printed lists for 400-day weights (taken between 300 and 500 days) and/or 600-day weights (between 500 and 900 days).  It is recommended
      that you measure the scrotum circumference of all your bulls between 350 to 500 days and enter these on the 400-day weighing list – measuring sticks are available from
      Flaf and Fred.

Benefits of Weighing

    ■  EBV’s on registration certificates, sale catalogues, show catalogue and herd lists.
    ■  During his visit, the Technical Advisor, analyses the genetic performance of your herd and animals.
    ■  Cows qualify for the “star cow register” –  stars on the pedigree.
    ■  An annual report comparing your animals and herd to the breed in Southern Africa.
    ■  Interim EBV’s after submitting new post birth weights.  If recorded, EBV’s for your commercial animals.

Participation & Costs

For more information, please contact us.

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More info on the above mentioned:

(1)  Calving Ease
(Birth without assistance, some assistance, serious difficulty and caesarian).

These codes on the birth notification form are used for calving ease EBV’s and are very important.  Be as accurate as possible – don’t guess and record ALL calves not just difficult or easy births.

If you see your females on a regular basis (e.g. daily) it is reasonable to assume that a cow that calves without assistance between visits can be considered as “unassisted” (no difficulty) even though you did not attend calving.

If calving was affected by the pre-birth management of the dam write a management group code (refer [3]) next to the birth weight or calving ease code (e.g. 09/A) or enter it in Column 11 on the new BN book.

(2)  Birth Weight
World wide research has shown that birth weight has the greatest influence on calving ease – the heavier the more calving problems.  Although individual birth weights can be used as a guide, birth weight BREEDPLAN EBV’s are much better predictors because they combine data from several sources.  As the bull sires more
progeny, the accuracy of his EBV improves markedly and his individual birth weight becomes of little significance.

Don’t guess the birth weight – weigh ALL calves accurately within 24 hours after birth or don’t weigh at all.  Without an actual birth weight, the EBV will be lower accurate and will only be based on post birth weights like weaning weight

If birth weight was affected by the pre-birth management of the dam (show, sick, transport, etc.) write a management group code letter next to the birth weight, calving code or Column 11 on the new forms (refer [3]).

(3)  Management Group
This is one of the most important aspects of BREEDPLAN recording.  A management group is a group of animals that are treated in the same way and leave equal opportunity to perform.

Animals that have received different treatment or management that could influence performance should be allocated different management group codes* so that they are not directly compared in the analysis.  Examples:  pre-birth management of dam (sick, show, etc.) affected calf’s birth weight/calving code; calf’s weaning weight affected due to dam that was milked; some animals in group fed for show or sale; significant differences in feeding/grazing that affected the weight.  Grouping is not required for sex, twins, age and cow status (heifer/cow) as the computer handles that.

* Enter letters of your own choice (from A to Z) on the birth notification and weight lists e.g. M = dam of weaner milked, S = dam of calf fed for show before birth, K = weight of animal affected by sickness etc. If no management group letter are entered it will be accepted that all animals in the weighing group has received the same treatment.

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Fertility still nr. 1

In any breeding system, whether it be extensive or intensive, commercial or stud breeding, REPRODUCTION has a greater effect on income than growth rate or any other trait.  The SIMPRO (SIMmentaler rePROduction) system involves a comprehensive report of reproduction and breeding criteria of all females which is critically analysed by the Breed Advisor and owner within herd context.  Simpro based selection ...

    ■  saves the breeder money (illuminates money gobblers);
    ■  measures adaptability better than “the eye” (unadapted cows are bad reproducers);
    ■  determines the correct cow size better than any judge (good reproducers have the correct size);
    ■  identifies superior breeding cows (inspection record next to each calving date);
    ■  aids management (days open, calves not reported and many others);
    ■  accelerates genetic progress (higher reproduction standard).

Simpro herd lists are available, free of charge, per e-mail or at the annual visit of the Breed Advisor.

© CP MASSMANN, January 2003

 

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