The AHDB National Beef Evaluation is carried out using data from multiple breeds and includes both crossbred and purebred animals. Because we have multiple breeds represented in the data, we are able to publish EBVs that can be directly compared across breeds, as long as they are of the same breed type (continental or native). As well as comparing individual animals across breeds, it’s not surprising that there is also interest in making comparisons at breed level and providing a ranking.
How do we rank breeds?
To do this, we compare the breed average EBV using only bulls with an accuracy of 80% or above. Only breeds with over 500 eligible bulls will be included in any ranking*. The differences in average performance between breeds are also tested for statistical significance, and if there is no significant difference between a breed pair, they will be given equal ranking.
It’s important to remember that a statistically significant difference means that the difference we see is unlikely to have occurred by chance. It has no bearing on the magnitude of the difference between breeds, which in most cases is very small.
Although ranking breeds on EBVs is interesting and provides a useful tool for marketing, the distribution graphs for each trait illustrate that the within-breed variation is greater than across-breed variation. It is not possible to select the best performing animals for each trait simply by choosing a particular breed.
View our breed rankings
*We currently publish breed rankings for carcase traits only, as the accuracy and numerical thresholds for inclusion are too strict to apply to maternal traits. Maternal trait rankings will be published once appropriate alternative thresholds have been established.