A group of first year beef students from Greenmount College were invited to test their skills in bull selection at the Elite Hereford Breeders sale.
In a discussion with Hereford breeders the key elements in selecting a sire to complement the females in the herd and produce high value progeny were covered.
As well as close inspection of the functional traits such as structure and locomotion a prospective purchaser should consider all the available information.
A sale catalogue should include detail of the health status of the animal and the herd where he was reared and can reduce the risk of buying in disease such as BVD and Johnes.
Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) give a guide to a sire’s performance across a range of the most important traits such as calving ease, growth rate and carcass quality and will help in the selection of a sire with the desired characteristics.
Armed with catalogues and all the available information the students viewed the pre sale parade of cattle and listened to an excellent commentary from Adrian Irvine who provided a detailed background to the stock on offer.
The students’ selection from the bulls on offer was ranked against the prices which they realized in the sale with many correctly predicting the top selling animals.