IN a first for the UK beef industry, Genomic Breeding Values (GEBVs) for three new female fertility traits and a new calf survival trait are being launched by the British Cattle Limousin Society (BLCS) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) this month.

In combination with the already established carcase traits GEBVs launched last year, these new female fertility and survival GEBVs provide opportunity for significant financial gain with the use of identified high performance genetics able to drive maternal performance that will yield direct returns in suckler herds, creating increased and new trading opportunities for all Limousin stock.

The traits focus on key economic drivers; age to first calving, calving interval, cow longevity and calf survival. All are critically important as the industry continues to move to one being driven even more by efficiency and profitability.

John Phillips, a Limousin producer and chairman of the BLCS said: “Recent market changes are seeing increasing demand for medium-sized, high performing dams. The Limousin can deliver these and the new GEBVs present quantifiable financial opportunity for all commercial producers to target the key performance drivers in their herds.

“Such opportunity will come in the form of reduced costs of production through increased calf returns and lower replacement costs for breeding heifers. Openings to generate new income streams are now there for the taking, as well as opportunity to increase the rate of genetic improvement in producers’ own herds” added Mr Phillips.

The pathway these new GEBV’s offer delivers a valuable opportunity to investigate and find breeding solutions for traits that have not been possible until now. Further development for the breed into areas such as feed efficiency, meat quality and animal health are now possible and ongoing.

Mr Phillips continued: “Producer investment in the breed must yield a return and, through the ongoing roll-out of the breed's improvement plan, the society’s objectives are firmly anchored around this principal”.

The first Maternal GEBVs are scheduled for release on July 13.