THE Foyle Food Group (FFG) and Aberdeen Angus Quality Beef Ltd (AAQB) have initiated a scheme to make superior Aberdeen Angus genetics available to their suppliers of Aberdeen Angus cattle.
FFG has been working exclusively with AAQB in Northern Ireland since 1998 – a partnership which has gone from strength to strength securing a number of attractive outlets for prime Aberdeen Angus beef. More recently, producer contracts with major supermarket Tesco has meant greater long-term market security for these Aberdeen Angus cattle slaughtered by the Foyle Food Group.
Analysis of data accumulated by AAQB over several years indicated that the trend in average age and weight of cattle coming forward for slaughter, although showing improvement, suggested there was potential to further increase efficiency within the supply base through genetic improvement.
The partnership was keen to encourage the use of the best available Aberdeen Angus genetics. The challenge was to identify a sire which was easy calving with a short gestation and at the top of the game in terms of growth.
After careful consideration, a young bull ‘Elliot Bravo T452’ was purchased from John R Elliot, a renowned Aberdeen Angus breeder in the Scottish borders. ‘Elliot Bravo’, sired by ‘Rawburn Boss Hogg’ and born in March 2017, has tremendous genetic potential. This young bull had a birth weight of just 37kg and his Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) suggest he is in the top 25 per cent of the breed for calving ease.
‘Elliot Bravo’ has pretty much everything in terms of EBVs as he is in the top one per cent for several traits including; Gestation Length, 200, 400 and 600 day weights, Carcase weight and Intramuscular Fat (see table). The combination of predicted calving ease and exceptional growth makes Elliot Bravo the prefect curve bender.
FFG and AAQB have made this investment to ensure suppliers can avail of superior genetics. Dedicated members who participate in the current AAQB schemes will be allocated semen free of charge based on the number of Aberdeen Angus cattle they have supplied. In exchange, performance data of the resulting progeny must be provided. AAQB members can also avail of supplies of Elliot Bravo semen for use in herds from which they regularly source AA calves.
The major objective of this project is to increase the efficiency and lifetime performance of cattle within the supply chain.
By using this bull there is also potential to lower the carbon footprint and increase efficiency on farm by an estimated £500,000 over the lifetime of the project. Through this project, it is hoped producers will realise the benefits of superior genetics and going forward have the confidence to invest.