Beef Shorthorn Society's new scheme aims to improve genetic linkage

The new scheme is designed to improve genetic linkage within the breed (Photo: Beef Shorthorn Society)
The new scheme is designed to improve genetic linkage within the breed (Photo: Beef Shorthorn Society)

Beef Shorthorn breeders are being offered the chance to use semen from a trio of top performance sires at discounted prices as part of a newly launched sire reference scheme for the breed.

The new scheme, designed to improve genetic linkage within the breed, follows on the back of the breed introducing genomic evaluations last autumn.

To kickstart it, Beef Shorthorn Society has selected a trio of bulls, Mayfield Nimrod, Stanfordpark Specialedition and Vale Meadows Flossy’s Cavalier to be available to British breeders.

Breeders will be able to select semen from two out of the three. Due to export restrictions on semen, only Vale Meadows Flossy’s Cavalier will be available for Northern Ireland.

The society’s operations manager, Clive Brown said the introduction of genomic evaluations had already resulted in increased accuracy values of estimated breeding values (EBV).

He explained that the society was seeking to build on that, in part, by offering semen from a number of young sires each year to boost the levels of genetic linkage between herds.

"This will assist in the society’s objective of building a solid foundation of performance recording to enhance the use of EBVs within the breed," Mr Brown said.

“Bulls will be selected for the scheme based on a specific set of criteria aimed at continual improvement in the breed, with these criteria having the potential to vary slightly depending on the society’s focus area.

"The society’s main objective is to have the reference sires used in as many herds as possible, large and small, forging strong genetic links."

Both Mayfield Nimrod and Stanfordpark Specialedition have performance figures in the top 1% of the breed for terminal index and self-replacing index.

Vale Meadows Flossy’s Cavalier carries a self-replacing index in the top 10% of the breed and a terminal index in the top 30% of the breed.

Mr Brown said these young bulls had been selected to offer breeders the chance to access top level genetics with strong pedigrees, balanced performance and good pehnotype.

He said semen will be offered to society members at a discounted rate, but in order to maximise use of the semen within the 12 months it is available, breeders will be limited to the number of straws they can purchase depending on herd size.

“Additionally, to ensure improvements in accuracy levels can be achieved, members will be asked to commit to performance recording the offspring resulting from these inseminations," he said.