Shropshire Star

Call to optimise cow genetics for sustainable beef production

Suckler beef farmers aiming for more sustainable systems are being encouraged to review cow genetics to prioritise traits that have the biggest influence on productivity, profitability and environmental footprint.

Aberdeen Angus cow and calf

Robert Gilchrist, CEO of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, said: “With beef farmers under increasing pressure to be more sustainable and profitable, it’s never been more important to review the suitability of genetics within the herd.

“Incorporating native genetics, such as Aberdeen-Angus, has been shown to deliver key traits aligned with sustainable production, offering potentially significant efficiency, economic, and environmental gains.”

The Building Better Beef report compiled by ADAS in 2023, was commissioned by AHDB, AgriSearch, HCC, and QMS to help suckler beef producers unlock greater productivity, profitability and sustainability.

It found that native bred dams can deliver a 21 to 32 per cent increase in gross margins compared to continental breeds.

This is primarily driven by the reduction in feed requirements, especially concentrates, due to their ability to maintain condition and thrive off grass.

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