We asked a random selection of suckler men at the February Perth bulls sales what are their main criteria when choosing Charolais as their herd’s terminal sire.
While it came as no surprise that good conformation and locomotion headed their list, they unanimously indicated that introducing Breedplan data was now an essential part of the selection process.
Despite some initial caution, these men are realising that using Estimated Breeding Values is enabling them to identify bulls of superior genetic merit that will leave progeny which are easy to calve and demonstrate higher performance. That means less labour and fewer days to target sale weight, or alternatively heavier weights achieved within the traditional sale period.
Whatever your system, introducing Breedplan data to your Charolais bull selection criteria takes the uncertainty out of choosing a new sire and provides real opportunity to improve your returns.
Scott McKinnon, Moniave, Dumfries: 500 cows
“Muscle and shape, good locomotion, and nowadays their good looks must be underpinned by Breedplan figures; they must be within the breed’s top 10% for growth rate and ease of calving.”
Raymond McKinnon, Dumfries: 600 cows,
“Good muscle, mobility and feet, and Breedplan for growth rate and ease of calving – everything we look at has to be in the breed’s top 10% figures, they really do help as a back up tool.”
Andrew Hamilton, Thornhill: 150 cows
“The bull has to catch my eye. He has to have shape – good conformation, mobility, be true to breed type and finally, his accompanying Breedplan figures are important to back my judgement.”
Mark Ross, Gorebridge, Midlothian: 330 cows
“Length for maximum sirloin and weight, a good back end for extra muscle, locomotion and his figures, they’re an important guide.”
Andrew Bell, Pennan, Fraserburgh: 120 cows
“Masculine appearance, conformation, well balanced and not too big a frame for ease of calving reasons and Breedplan figures. We are just beginning to use the Breedplan data in particular for ease of calving and we’re finding that it is working.”
Ronald Smith, Aboyne, Aberdeen: 240 cows
“Conformation in particular with good wide hind quarters, size, length, a good head with good big ears, and good Breedplan figures, in particular for weight gain and calving ease.”