What was Ireland’s most popular sire breed in 2016?

Over 2.3 million calves were born in 2016, according to the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) Bovine Statistics Report 2016 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

This marks the fifth year for an increase in the number of calves born, with the majority sired by a beef bull – 1,520,860, compared to 803,436 by a dairy bull.

Sire selection for beef cows

Some 994,220 beef cows calved down in 2016. Limousin proved to be the most popular sire breed for beef cows, with 36% – 356,611 – bred to a Limousin bull. Charolais followed in second place at 34%, with the pair accounting for over 70% of sire selection.

Aberdeen Angus was third most popular, with 10% of sire selection. Simmental, Hereford and Belgian Blue followed, accounting for 5%, 4% and 3%, respectively. Hereford overtook Belgian Blue last year, becoming slightly more favourable for beef cows.

Sire selection for dairy cows

Friesian accounted for 57% of sire selection in 2016, with 757,249 calves sired by a Friesian bull.

The use of Aberdeen Angus remained in second place, with 18% of sire selection. Hereford followed in third, accounting for 12%.

The use of Limousin and Belgian Blue declined in popularity last year, together making up just over 6% of sire selection.

The use of a Jersey bull accounted for 1.7% of sire selection, as 22,790 dairy cows were crossed with a Jersey bull.

Top 10 sire breeds

  • Friesian – 770,569
  • Limousin – 416,706
  • Aberdeen Angus – 346,772
  • Charolais – 344,389
  • Hereford – 205,748
  • Simmental – 68,144
  • Belgian Blue – 58,690
  • Jersey – 23,122
  • Salers – 16,203
  • Shorthorn – 15,583
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