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Cogent's new beef range makes strong case for AI in the suckler herd

Cattle breeding company, Cogent, may be best known as a specialist in dairy genetics, but while the company's dairy bulls have been stealing the limelight, its beef portfolio has been quietly growing like Topsy, almost behind the scenes.

Today, there are over 60 bulls representing 16 breeds in the Cogent Signature Beef range, many of which have come together in the company's 2014 brochure.

"This is the biggest and best Signature Beef Brochure we have ever produced," says Gareth Scott, beef sales manager for Cogent, "and we firmly believe it's the most diverse offering the UK farmer has ever had."

The brochure represents the company's belief in using AI on the suckler herd which can achieve significantly greater physical and financial performance by using the highest genetic merit sires.

"Beef production remains a challenging sector, with high input costs and a variable market price so we firmly believe that the way to improve margins is to aim for the top of the market," he says.

"However, the type of bull with which this can be achieved is often priced in the tens of thousands of pounds, which could rarely be justified in a typical commercial or pedigree suckler herd."

The argument for using AI has therefore become overwhelming and by choosing the highest EBV (Estimated Breeding Value) sires, a herd can take great strides.

"This could be in producing progeny for finishing, which will have faster liveweight gains and better carcase conformation if they're sired by our high EBV terminal sires," continues Mr Scott. "Or it could be through choosing the best bloodlines to breed replacement females by selecting better maternal traits such as calving ease and milk production."

Many of the bulls in the brochure transmit both outstanding maternal and terminal traits, but those which are particularly strong in a specific area are highlighted as such with a stamp of approval. This will make it obvious at a glance whether the bull is best for maternal or terminal traits, or whether it's suited for use on heifers.

"We'd urge any suckler herd owner to study the brochure in detail; to look at the indexes and the calibre of bloodlines; and to consider the returns they could make from using AI with these high genetic merit sires," he concludes.

Copies of the Signature Beef Brochure will be received on farm week commencing 7th April, when YouTube videos of some of the bulls will also be posted (search Cogent Signature Beef on YouTube). Alternatively, please call Cogent to order a copy. Tel: 0800 783 7258.