In addition to the BWCS Bull Inspections Scheme which has been running since 2016, the Society in 2022 introduced type classification for bulls and females on a voluntary basis for herds of any size. The scheme is run by the National Bovine Data Centre (NBDC), who currently evaluate over 130,000 dairy and beef animals every year on this internationally recognised appraisal system. This service is intended as a way for breeders to have their herd assessed on farm by an independent body, in a way which gives the breeder practical information upon which to base future breeding decisions, as well as to be able to advertise all animals on their structural merit and that of any animals in their pedigree which would also have been classified.
Type Classification Process
To submit your herd for classification, first contact the British White Cattle Society to let us know you would like to arrange a visit. At this point it would also be useful to make sure that your Society herd record is up to date; either log into Grassroots Online to check that all births, deaths, castrates and transfers have been recorded, or contact BWCS for a paper copy that you can submit by post.
Next, you’ll be put in touch with the National Bovine Data Centre and your initial classification visit scheduled. An inspector will visit on-farm and assess all eligible cattle; these are all in-milk females (first-calvers onwards) and bulls over the age of 24 months. Animals do not need to be haltered for inspection but would need to be viewed in a reasonably contained area of hard standing or short grass, where all aspects of the animal are clearly visible. If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please speak to your classifier.
On the day of classification you will need to be able to tell the classifier the number of calvings each female has had (this is the number of births, as opposed to number of calves born or reared).
To assist with take-up of the scheme and to encourage as many members to take part as possible, BWCS will fund up to a maximum of £200 per herd for their initial classification in 2023 (which should cover the entire cost of the visit for the vast majority of breeders) with any further visits during that year to be paid for by the member. As the scheme develops for our breed, the BWCS Management and Executive Committees will monitor its progress and assess feedback, uptake and funding for 2024 and beyond.
View current pricing for the scheme on the NBDC website: https://nbdc.uk/media/1070/classification_fees.pdf
After getting set up with an initial classification visit where all available bulls and females have been inspected, you do not need to have your whole herd re-classified every year if you would prefer not to. Any females calving for the first time since your last visit should be classified on an annual inspection, along with new stock bulls or bulls reaching classification age (24m+) having previously been too young. You may also wish to re-classify animals which have previously been assessed, as their scores could potentially improve and will always be displayed only at their highest recorded point.
Traits are grouped into four categories for which scores are weighted as follows:
Body Conformation 25%
Beef Conformation & Breed Character 25%
Legs and Feet 30%
The final points totals are calculated and described as follows:
Excellent (EX) 90 +
Very Good (VG) 85 – 89
Good Plus (GP) 80 – 84
Good (G) 75 – 79
Fair (F) 65 – 74
Poor (P) 50 – 64
The maximum final score attributed to each animal also depends on the number of calvings (females) or age (males):
1st Calver 89 points
2nd Calver 89 points
3rd Calver 93 points
4th Calver+ 97 points
Bull 24m+ 89 points
Bull 36m+ 97 points
Any animal which has been classified will have the final score listed as a suffix to its pedigree name on the Society database. Scores will also be shown in Society sale catalogues, adverts, etc. as a suffix to the name of any classified animal.