The Orkney based Cavans pedigree Beef Shorthorn herd owned by David Scarth has been presented with the breed society’s inaugural Self Replacing Index (SRI) award for achieving the highest herd average SRI during the last recording year.
The 50 cow herd recorded an average SRI +22.2, the highest among the society’s Breedplan recording members, all of whom had a minimum of 10 recorded cattle to be eligible for selection.
“I am delighted to receive this new award and also for my herd to have achieved the highest recorded average SRI across the UK,” said David who farms 650 acres at Birsay, North Orkney. “Introducing Beef Shorthorn I have to admit was not my idea. My great aunt, Mrs Anna Spence established the herd more than 50 years ago and I have continued with the breed because I was so impressed by its ease of management as well as performance. So much so I have introduced Beef Shorthorn to my 110 cow commercial herd and again remain thrilled. The cows have wonderful motherability and do well on our less productive ground.
“As far as selection criteria are concerned, as well as looking for a structurally correct animal I also refer to Breedplan data. I am particularly interested in eye muscle area and birth weight EBVs. A significant improvement to both the female lines and to the herd data has been made since introducing Dunsyre North Star and Sutherland Bundaberg, both of whom are within the breed’s top 1% for SRI.”
Breed society chairman, Mark Holmes commented: “This new award is designed to create further awareness of the Beef Shorthorn as a functional suckler cow, its maternal traits and their suitability to working environments, at a time when a significant amount of performance recording data relates to sires and their performance traits. It has also helped to identify herds with high genetic merit females that are opportune for selection as replacements.”
He adds: “The award evaluation alerted me to the progress that is being made within the Beef Shorthorn herdbook which is solely down to the breeders and society members for their hard work and continual strive for improvement. Breedplan now acts as a vital tool for selection purposes along with a continued eye for the breed’s distinguishing characteristics. Furthermore the breed has enjoyed record interest in the last 12 months with registrations consistently increasing and pedigree sales hitting an all-time high. I am thoroughly looking forward to the coming year.”