The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is set to launch a new tool that aims to benefit beef farmers in buying cattle – either in marts or privately.

The new tool will be called the Commercial Beef Value (CBV) and aims to address the issue surrounding the lack of information available to farmers on a beef animals’ potential carcass value when buying cattle.

It will be available on ICBF’s Herd Plus from this week and will be officially announced at the Teagasc beef conference tomorrow (Monday, December 6).

The value will apply to all cattle destined solely for beef production. Pedigree cattle will not be allocated the value.

There are currently approximately 20,000 farmers in Ireland who are solely beef farmers and do not breed calves.

The problem being faced by many of these farmers is when buying either calves, weanlings or stores destined for beef, they are buying cattle solely on what they see in front of them and have very limited access to the genetic composition of the cattle.

The ICBF Commercial Beef Value (CBV) will be composed of 5 factors:

  • Growth rate;
  • Conformation;
  • Fat score;
  • Feed efficiency;
  • Docility.

The Commercial Beef Value (CBV) tool aims to help farmers see what potential the cattle they are buying have with regard to overall kill out.

The CBV will range from a negative figure to a positive figure so cattle with lower potential for beef production will receive a lower CBV and therefore command a lower price than cattle with a higher CBV.

For example, a good suckler-bred weanling may have a CBV ranging from €300-€400 whereas a Jersey cross out of a dairy herd may have a negative value of -€400.

The value also aims to pass a message back to dairy farmers and suckler farmers in terms of the quality of stock.

It is envisaged by the ICBF that the CBV will appear on mart screens at cattle sales and farmers in Herd Plus will be able to see the CBV of their cattle (with registered sires) on Herd Plus from as soon as this week.

While it is compulsory to register the breed of a calf’s sire at birth, it is not compulsory to register the sire of the calf and currently, only about 50% of calves from the dairy herd destined for beef production have sires recorded.

The sire of the animal must have been recorded if the animal is to get a CBV.

Teagasc will be advising beef farmers buying calves this spring to only buy calves off dairy farmers who have accurately recorded the sires and to request the calves CBV before buying them.

The Teagasc National Beef Conference will get underway via webinar tomorrow, Monday, December 6, at 8:00pm. The second part of the National Beef Conference will take place on Wednesday, December 8, at 8:00pm.