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Genetic Defect update
Our breeding programme is centred on the Big C’s and Fundamental F’s.
Conformation - These are all rated as of equal importance Conformation includes all structural aspects.Carcase
We will not compromise of the Fundamental F’s (as with the C’s they are all equally important):
Feet – also included in conformation but critical enough to be here also
- If the animals that meet all the above criteria then have good data that is considered a bonus. We have no objective to boost our figures through the use of highly figured sires – Mt Mable cattle have average at best figures but they are generally very even and (most of the time) a fair reflection in the main of our cattle’s birth weights, calving ease and growth.
- We do not select sires to “fix” any problems in our cows – that is what culling is for – we are more concerned with only introducing sires which compliment the cemented quality of our cows – they are our most valuable asset and we guard their genetic integrity with vigour.
- We breed on family lines and pedigrees. Bulls that have been introduced into the herd have all been selected for their Big C’s and Fundamental F’s. Most trace their lineage to the traditional New Zealand Angus type – the major overseas influence in our herd has been Pine Drive from the times when growth was required in the New Zealand cattle. We are taking a wait and see attitude with regard to the more recently imported lines – many have been selected on figures rather than type and do not appear to meet our selection criteria.
- We use our knowledge of pedigrees and analysis of relative’s actual performance (ie Dam’s calving performance, heifers in herds calving, bulls sold into breeding or retained) to select our sires. We do not refer to the figures of our cattle when we are making heifer retention decisions – her family performance is what interests us – heifers are split into lists of not cull, maybe keeps and definite culls from their Dam’s, Grand-dam’s, Aunts and Sister’s performance before them. They are all brought into the yards and visually assessed and their own performance (growth) taken into account – for the last 5 years we have rarely moved more than 4 heifers from the not cull list and replaced them with the next best maybe’s. The “definite cull” list rarely numbers more than a couple of individuals. They are there as a result of their mother’s behaviour, or any other unsatisfactory factor, or their own behaviour or any other undesirable trait. Continual assessment of the breeding cows and their progeny’s performance ensures that any deviations from our expectations are identified quickly and dealt with accordingly.
The links above are the official discussion of EBV’s (estimated breeding values) comparisons and Breed Indexes from the Angus Association Website.
It is important to note that the Angus Pure Index has the expectation of cattle being killed at 20 months of age and a “significant” premium being paid for marbling. There are no accuracies reflected in any of the Breed Indexes nor is there anyway of doing so.
Until such a time as there are tangible results to show that the recent focus on Breed Indexes reflect a true indication of genetic improvement, increased financial returns, and / or our buyers indicate to us that we should do otherwise, we will not be placing any greater emphasis on the Breed Indexes than any other “estimated breeding value” in our breeding programme. If the following is a representative sample of reliability we can safely say it may well never occur. The cow pictured below – Mt Mable 967 - is considered under the calculation of the Self Replacing Index to be a substantial $20 (as 30/01/13) below breed average – this, for a cow who is 14 and going strong, has reared 12 calves and has put 6 breeding daughters in the herd with potentially more to come – statistics more relevant and compelling than a computer generated figure which would suggest that she should have been culled as a heifer?
The most important breeding goal for us is to preserve the strength, structural soundness, fertility and do-ability of the Angus cow who is the number one meat maker of New Zealand. The ultimate profit driver for any breeding cow system is superior and robust breeding cows having an early maturing, fast growing and “beefy” calf every year.
This is the breeding philosophy of Mt Mable Angus – simple really
And below are some of the results of that Breeding Philosophy: