REPRODUCTION PHASE (Phase A1)
All calves born in a herd, including still born calves and abortions, should by recorded on the birth notifications in the prescribed format. These birth notifications should be submitted within 30 days, or as prescribed by the particular breeders’ society, for recording on the INTERGIS.
The following weights shall be accepted:
Calf weight at birth (within 3 days after birth) (optional)
Cow weight at the start of the mating season (optional)
Cow weight at the end of the mating season (optional)
Cow weight after calving (within 7 days after calving) (optional)
Birth weights should be recorded to the nearest 1 kg on a scale that can weigh accurately to the nearest kg.
SUCKLING PHASE (Phase A2)
Pre-wean weight of calf (optional, age 51 to 150 days, with a maximum of 100 days age difference between the oldest and youngest animal in the specific contemporary group);
Wean weight of calf (compulsory, age 151 to 250 days, with a maximum of 100 days age difference between the oldest and youngest animal in the specific contemporary group);
Cow weight (optional, at weighing of calf for weaning weight).
The weights of all animals that were not sold or died must be determined to at least the nearest 5 kg.
All animals of a specific contemporary group should, as far as possible, be weighed on the same day. If certain animals have to be weighed on a separate date, the period between weigh dates should be limited to the minimum (preferably within five days).
ON-FARM RECORDINGS (Phase B)
12 months weight (optional, age 271 to 450 days, with a maximum of 100 days age difference between the oldest and youngest animal in the specific contemporary group)
18 months weight (optional, age 451 to 634 days, with a maximum of 100 days age difference between the oldest and youngest animal in the specific contemporary group).
The weights of all animals that were not sold, dead or included in another post wean phase should be determined to at least the nearest 5 kg.
CENTRAL PERFORMANCE TESTS (Phase C)
Standardised tests at ARC test centres (Phase C1) & Standardised tests at private test centres (Phase C2)
Non-standardised central tests at ARC or private test centres (Phase C3)
Phase C1 & C2: Bull calves shall be tested under standardised conditions for a period of 84 days following an adaptation period of 28 days.
Phase C3: The test shall last for a minimum period of 56 days for heifers and 84 days for bulls and a maximum of 140 days (with 7 day increments) following an adaptation period of 28 days.
Bull calves shall be fed a standard, complete growth diet comprising at least 20 percent roughage.
Feeding regime and management:
Bull calves shall be individually fed ad lib during the test period.
On arrival bull calves shall be treated against internal and external parasites and, if necessary, skin diseases.
Bull calves shall be spray-dipped regularly.
Bull calves shall be fitted with neck belts to which their transponder and pen number shall be attached.
A veterinarian shall examine the bulls regularly and be available in all cases of diseases and emergencies.
Performance records and observations:
The weights of the bull calves shall be recorded on arrival and thereafter at weekly intervals.
Growth rate shall be indicated by means of average daily gain during the test period.
Individual feed consumption shall be recorded in order to evaluate the feed conversion ratio. Feed conversion ratio shall be expressed as of kg feed consumed per kilogram live weight gain.
A series of body measurements (shoulder height, body length, skin thickness and scrotal circumference) shall be taken of each bull calf at the end of a test. Functional appearance scoring shall be done on a series of traits.
Carcass measurements are recorded at the end of test using real time ultrasound scanning since this is the most accurate measure of carcass traits without having to slaughter an animal. Traits that can be measured include subcutaneous fat depth, eye muscle area and inter muscular fat.
Any point of interest relating to the general condition and health of the bulls shall be recorded.
Each bull shall be examined for any defect or abnormality. In the event of any defect or abnormality a report will be presented to the owner and the breed society concerned.
Real Time Ultrasound (RTU) meausurements
The beef industry has begun using a value based marketing system, where cattlemen are rewarded for producing a high quality, consistent end-product that meets the demands of consumers. One of the tools that aids producers in the efficient and profitable production of beef cattle is live animal carcass ultrasound. The use of carcass ultrasound is an economical way cattlemen can make genetic improvements in carcass traits, which will in turn, put profits in their pockets.
The Ultrasound technology used for carcass trait measurement is referred to as real-time ultrasound. Real-time ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves (generally 2 to 10 MHz) to “see” under the animal’s hide while it is still alive. This is the same technology used for pregnancy diagnosis in livestock as well as in humans.
A sound–emitting probe, or transducer, is placed snuggly on the animal’s back, and the sound waves penetrate the tissue, reflecting off the boundaries between hide, fat and muscle layers. As the sound waves reflect back towards the probe, a cross-sectional image is created on the ultrasound machine monitor that allows measurements of various carcass traits. This process is harmless to the animal and the technician
Where are the measurements taken?
Certain areas of the body of the animal are identified as the scanning points. The ribeye area, in square inches, is measured between the 12th and 13th ribs and gives an estimate of the amount of muscle and lean meat in the animal.
Back fat is also measured between the 12th and13th and is an estimate of the external fat on the animal. This measurement is taken at appoint three-fourths of the length of the ribeye from the end closest to the animal’s spine and is the most important factor affecting retail product yield.
Rump fat is the additional measure of external fat on the animal and is also measured in inches. This measurement is taken along the rump of the animal between the hooks and pins. Percent intramuscular fat is an objective measurement of marbling in live animal.
Data collection procedure
These include proper preparation and adherence to the guidelines adopted by the corresponding breed association.
It is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that their cattle-handling facilities are adequate for animal restrain and for the safety of both the technician and the animals. A squeeze chute with fold-down side panels is best. Clean working area with a ground power source or generator is required.
It is also necessary to weigh the animals being scanned within 7 days of the scan date.
In order for accurate genetic differences to be expressed, the animal should be growing at a rate that will allow differences in lean and fat deposition to be measured.
Which animals can be scanned?
Young bulls and heifers of between 300 and 800 days. However, it is recommended to scan before 700 days as older animals may have eye muscle that are at the limit that the scanning machines can accurately evaluate.
What are the benefits of using Real-Time Ultrasound?
These measurements can be used to estimate muscle growth and predict carcass composition and beef yield
Ultrasound technology has made a significant impact on the animal science industry, both locally and internationally and is used as a valuable tool for genetic selection for carcass traits.
The collected scan data can also form part of breeding value estimations, enabling the breeder to predict the genetic potential of breeding stock for the carcass traits.
Conformation on body composition eliminates the expenses and time required by progeny testing for carcass merit
Each owner shall be issued with an end-of-adaptation and mid-test report on the live weight and general condition of his bulls.
Breeder will receive an interim report each second week of test to ensure that breeders are up to date with their animals performance
Each animal have to be inspected by an inspector appointed by the society to ensure all animals meet the minimum breed standards, animals that are rejected will not receive any merit.
Each owner and breed society shall be issued with a final report at the end of a test. Final results shall include average daily gain over 84 days (ADG) and index, average daily gain per day of age ADA (without index), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and index and various body measurements, RTU measurements with an evaluation of functional appearance scores.
Performance certificates shall be awarded to bulls according to the minimum standards (create link to Attachment H) set by the Advisory Committee and each bull shall be branded accordingly on the left shoulder.
ON-FARM PERFORMANCE TESTS (Phase D)
SINGLE HERD TESTS (Phase D1) &
MULTIPLE HERD TESTS (Phase D2)
The adaptation period could vary between 21 and 90 days depending on the growth rate and test procedure. The adaptation period shall be short for intensive and single herd tests and longer for extensive and multiple herd tests. During the adaptation period the bulls should be fed the same diet as during the test period and should gain weight before the test can commences.
Phase D tests shall last a minimum of 84 and a maximum of 270 days after termination of the predetermined adaptation period. A minimum average gain and growth rate during the test period is required, per breed, as stipulated in the following table:
The test will be supervised by the ARC technician stationed in the area who will ensure that the correct procedure is followed and will be present at the weighing at start and end of test and will also take body and RTU measurements at the end of test.