Five new livestock Estimated Breeding Value (EBV’s) traits have been developed to help improve profit margins by producing more beef animals that meet target specification.

The first set of EBVs for traits that farmers are directly paid for, they include carcase weight, carcase conformation, fat class, slaughter age and average daily carcase gain and should be considered useful to commercial and pedigree farmers.

Alex Brown, AHDB beef breeding projects manager, said: “Considering a sire’s carcase figures when selecting calves for rearing is an example of how commercial farmers could use them to purchase better-performing cattle.

“However, it is important to consider this new data alongside other EBVs when selecting individuals for breeding. For example, animals of high carcase merit should not be chosen to the detriment of health and fertility traits such as calving ease.”

Mr Brown added: “We are seeing high levels of variation within all beef breeds for the new traits, so all breeds have the opportunity to make genetic progress in this area."

The EBVs are expressed on two bases, native and continental, so EBVs can be compared between animals of the same breed type. They have been calculated by combining data from abattoirs, British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) and breed societies.

The abattoir data currently covers 40% of the national kill and more than 2m carcase records for both pure-bred and cross-bred animals have been used to develop the EBVs.

New EBVs are freely accessible by searching by eartag or pedigree name via the Beef Carcase Traits Project.

The new traits were developed by AHDB Beef and Lamb, Scotland’s Rural College and Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales).