Angus NZ is committed to its goals and vision to increase profits to its members and commercial beef farmers by increasing production in the New Zealand Beef Industry.
The major driver to increasing profit in a commercial beef enterprise is increasing fertility and longevity in the cow herd.
Angus NZ recognises that genetic progress for this major profit driver in our beef industry has made little progress in the past 15 years and as the major maternal breed in New Zealand and consequently the major contributor of Genetics through bull production and sales to the industry, we must find measures to improve this where we are able through prudent management.
In response to this, Angus NZ has developed a new initiative for its members to be known as the “The Milestone Dam Programme”, aimed at increasing production in the Beef industry through the identification of superior maternal cows in the Angus breed which have the desired attributes to increase maternal production.
It is expected that through the identification of these “Milestone Dams” that breeders will use it as a tool to select sons of these cows where applicable to lift their herd’s maternal production.
The parameters in deriving this list are outlined below but are similar but more stringent than those used by some other breeds, with less than 0.5% or around 100 Angus pedigree cows meeting the criteria at this point, although in our younger dams a large number are progressing toward this status.
In order to qualify for the Milestone Dam list, a cow must have the following attributes and performance parameters related to sustainable Beef Herd production in New Zealand on our pasture based management system. Both Registered and Performance Recorded (PRAC) cows are eligible.
A “Milestone Dam” Must:
- Have calved her first calf before 821 days days ( ie calve at 2yrs)
- Have had at least Four calves at consecutive calvings
- Have Calving Ease Direct EBV in top 50% of the breed ( ie above breed average)
- Have Calving Ease Maternal in top 50% of the breed
- Have Weaning weight EBV in Top 50% of the breed
- Have Days to Calving EBV in top 75% of breed ( ie exclude bottom 25% only)
- Have at least Four progeny with weaning OR yearling weights recorded. ( ie must rear calves)
*A cow that has achieved the above criteria becomes a Four Star Milestone dam
*A cow that has had 5 calves and all the other criteria is a Five Star Milestone cow
Each subsequent calf adds another star to that cows ranking. A data search suggests there are over 500 young females born in 2007, 2008 and 2009 which meet the EBV criteria for milestone dams. It will be interesting to follow these through and see how many meet the calving criteria and subsequently make the Milestone Dam list!!