- The need for new AI bulls
- Mothers of AI Bulls
- Fathers of AI Bulls
- From bullcalf to the selection of ”Young AI Bull”
- From ”Young AI Bull” to ”Proven AI Bull”
- 800 doses are distributed
- From ”Young AI Bull” to ”AI Bull waiting for final evaluation”
- Carcass and conformation
- Calving ability
- The final selection
- Full declaration
- From bullcalf to ”Proven AI Bull”
It is important that only the best individuals are used in the breeding. This is the only way to make sure that every new generation is superior to the parent generation. Progress in the breeding can only be achieved by selection and the use of genetic unique animals.
The aim of all beefbreeds is to produce a big carcass of high quality with a minimum effort, feed and capital. To achieve this goal you have to strive for cattle with high feed efficiency but at the same time with a big growth capacity and good muscularity and high fertility.
There are more than 8.000 full French Limousine cows in Denmark. About 65 bull calves are tested at the National Test Station every year. 2.500 animals are exterior evaluated yearly.
The need for new AI bulls
At all times there has to be at least 2 ”Proven AI Bulls” available for the herds. The “Proven AI Bulls” should not be used for more than 2 years. Every year we have the aim to find 4 new “Young AI Bulls”
Mothers of AI Bulls
The best cows and heifers are potential mothers of new AI bulls. They are primarily selected by their total index (S-index).
Fathers of AI Bulls
Fathers of AI Bulls are often the very best bulls from France. Moreover top quality danish bulls can be found as fathers of new AI bulls.
It is essential that there is focus on a continuous variation in bloodlines used in the breeding when selecting fathers of the future AI bulls.
From bull calf to the selection of ”Young AI Bull”
A significant task in the breeding is to monitor all the bull calves at the National Test Station. The purpose is to select the very best bull calves at the station and appoint them as “Young AI Bull”. This I why the meeting in the Breeding Committee is held at the National Test Centre 6-8 times a year. Before the meeting information on the bulls that are getting close to the end of the test is studied
- Pedigree on the bull
- Pedigree on the mother of the bull
- Weigth results
- Docility evaluation
- Exterior evaluation and preliminary conformation index
Meetings in the Breeding Committee commences with an inspection of the calves at the National Test Station that will end the test within 1-2 months.
During the inspection a description of every bull is made. The bull´s exterior, type and characteristics are eagerly debated. If there are more bull calves by the same bull they are compared.
All of these issues are taken into account:
- The father has to be among the very best in the breed. It can be a French AI bull, a Danish AI bull or a herd bull of unique quality.
- The morther have to have high indices and a good exterior evaluation.
- There has to be different bloodlines in the pedigree of selected “Young AI Bulls”.
- The bull´s total index (S-index) and all the partial indices are evaluated. In princip no indices should be less than 100.
- Average daily growth has to be over the average at the National Test Station.
- Ultrasound measurement of the muscle in the back ought to be better than the average of the breed.
- Feed efficiency ought to be better than the average of the breed.
- The docility is evaluated 11 times during the test. The bull´s overall evaluation ought to be better than the average of the breed.
- The bulls are exterior evaluated a few day prior to the meeting in the Breeding Committee and the result should be better than average.
- The type of the bull (breeding, mix or beef type) is taken into account in order to meet the demands from both production herds and breeding herds.
Based on an assessment of these items the bull can be approved as a “Young AI Bull”.
From “young AI Bull” to “Proven AI Bull”
When a bull calf is selected as a ”Young AI Bull” 10.000 doses of semen from the bull is produced. The semen is kept frozen in liquid nitrogen at the laboratory so the quality of the semen will be maintained
800 doses are distributed
800 doses of semen are distributed among the inseminators in Denmark while the remaining 9.000 doses of semen are kept at the store. We try to coordinate the use of the semen thus it will be used within a short period of max 6 month.
From ”Young AI Bull” to ”AI Bull waiting for the final evaluation”
When the initial 800 doses of semen are used the ”Young AI Bull” changes status to ”AI Bull waiting for final evaluation”. At this time the bull is 2-2½ years old.
The purpose of the initial use of the 800 doses of semen is to produce progeny who will contribute with information to estimation of the indices of the bull.
The first information enter when the progeny is born. On the basis of the obligatory report on the course of the calving, the size of the calf and the vitality of the calf the calving index is re-calculated.
Just like the calculation of other indices we also use information from cross breed calves, both combination of the AI bull with other beef breeds and the combination with dairy cattle give valuable information on the genetic value of the AI Bulls.
Infomation to re-calculate the AI Bulls growth index is gathered from weight result in the herds, reports from the slaughterhouses and test results from the National Test Station from sons of the AI Bull. It is the target that at least 5-6 sons out of every “AI Bull waiting for final evaluation” ought to be tested at the National Test Station.
Carcass and conformation
The test of sons at the National Test Station also gives valuable information about the bull value regarding carcass and conformation. The ultrasound measurement of the muscle in the back of the bull (U-index), the growth index (T-index) and the exterior evaluation of the sons are used in the re-calculation of the total index (S-index).
In addition the feed efficiency and the docility of the sons are monitored at the frequent visits by the Breeding Committée.
When the sons have finished their test at the National Test Station the “AI Bull waiting for final evaluation” is 3½-4 years old.
Shortly after the sons of the AI bull finish their test at the National Test Station the daughters are old enough to be inseminated. Reports on inseminations are used to establish the AI bull ability to produce daughters with high fertility.
When the daughters calve we will have valuable information on the ability of the AI Bulls to produce cows that will calve easy. This is expressed in the calving index.
In order to get additional information regarding the docility of the offspring from the AI bull a questionnaire is sent to all herds with progeny by the bull.
On the questionnaire the owner will report how the docility is compared to other calves in the herd.
I order to get a picture of the quality of the bull regarding exterior of its offspring all 1st calf cows out of a ”Young AI Bull” in all herds through out the country are exterior evaluated without cost for the breeder. The result of this exterior evaluation is used in the calculation of the conformation index.
At this time the bull is 5 years old.
The final selection
Now it is the Breading Commitées responsibility to evaluate if the ”AI Bull waiting for the final evaluation” has the quality to be appointed ”Proven AI Bull”. All indices, reports and informations is taken into account when the decision have to be made. It is the aim that no more than 1-2 bull will be appointed “Proven AI Bull” every year – thus only 1 out of 3 “AI Bulls waiting for the final evaluation” will meet the final cut.
A Danish Limousin ”Proven AI Bull” have passed one of the toughest livestock tests in the world before the bull is given the predicate ”Proven AI Bull”. This is a bull with a full declaration.
From bullcalf to “Proven AI Bull”
|Bull calves enters the National Test Station
|The very best bulls are approved as ”Young AI Bull”
||Evaluation of test results and pedigree
FEF-index: FEED EFFIECIENCY
Exterior evaluation: CONFORMATION
|”Young AI Bull”
||800 test inseminations are performed
|”AI Bull Waiting for final evaluation”
||Calvings are registrated =
Offspring are weighted in the herds =
||Offspring (sons) enters the National Test Station
||Results from slaughter results of calves from the 800 test inseminations =
||Offspring (sons) finish test at the National Test Station =
||Offspring (heifers) are inseminated =
||Offspring (heifers) are calving =
|”Proven AI Bull”
||Offspring (cows) are exterior evaluated