The Canadian Gelbvieh Association has organized the first replacement heifer performance project of its type at Olds College in Alberta. Sixty Gelbvieh and Gelbvieh-influenced heifers started the project February 19. Cattle producers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta who use Gelbvieh genetics enrolled heifers born from February to April of 2020 in the project.
The project measures docility and its potential impact on growth and conception rates. Fertility and growth are two primary economic drivers of the profitability of the commercial cow herd. While Gelbvieh-influenced females already make great cows, this work will help to further solidify and improve the already well-deserved reputation for docility, productivity and fertility.
To better quantify and help breeders and commercial users select for these traits, the project will collect a wide array of data. Docility will be recorded using a temperament assessment scoring system. It will consist of a combination of scores based on how each heifer behaves in the chute without being squeezed, and flight speed (chute exit speed). Growth performance will be evaluated using a combination of GrowSafe Beef weights and chute weights. Carcass ultrasounds, cervical scores and AI conception rates will also be collected. DNA samples will be collected on heifers for potential use in finding informative DNA markers for these extremely valuable traits. When tied to the Canadian Gelbvieh Association database and a state-of-the-art genetic evaluation, Gelbvieh is positioning itself to provide real value to the beef industry.
Check out Gelbvieh.ca and the Canadian Gelbvieh Association Facebook page for more information and progress throughout the project. The Canadian Gelbvieh Association would like to thank all the sponsors for their support in this project.