A Co. Tipperary farm is currently home to some of the most unique calves in Ireland because the calves in question were sired by a Canadian bull that was born 46 years ago.

The Garrynoe Hereford herd has successfully used straws from Standard Lad 93J, a bull that was born on May 24, 1977.

His straws are therefore quite rare, but through the work of the herd owners and AB Ireland, the first 93J calf in the Republic of Ireland in 10 years was born in early September.

Standard Lad 93J was sold in 1979 for $65,000 CAD, the equivalent today of $256,000 CAD (€179,752.96).

40 year old straw

By using techniques and practices developed in New Zealand and tested in the UK, AB Ireland allows Irish farmers to access previously unavailable technology right on their own farm.

AB Ireland was formed in spring 2021 between Cork native Paddy Buckley and Animal Breeding Europe, based in Scotland.

Buckley was contacted by Garrynoe Herefords after they had heard AB Ireland could flush nine cows with one straw.

cow and calf
The bull calf born on the farm Source: Garrynoe Herefords

They were initially going to do a conventional flush of one cow, but through AB, they flushed five from the one straw.

With sexed semen, the farm knew they would be getting a bull and a heifer.

“The only way this could happen is through our system. 40-year-old genetics have been brought back into the Hereford breed and thankfully its a bull and a heifer, so your getting both sides of the coin,” Buckley told Agriland.

The straw from Standard Lad 93J was picked up from a tank in Co. Roscommon where Buckley said it had been for over 20 years.

Following the successful birth of the two calves this month, Buckley said the vet that assisted the calving “rang me afterwards and said its been a long time since he’s seen that much excitement about a calf”.

Twin calves

Meanwhile, a farm in Co. Louth saw a healthy set of twin calves born from using in-vitro embryo production (IVP), despite the method having an average pregnancy rate of only 45%.

The bull calves are the first set of IVP twins for the Sheridan family in Dunleer, and were sired by the Limousin bull, Telfer Munster.

They came from a single embryo that split after implantation. The IVP collection for this donor produced a total of 23 embryos, 9 of which were implanted fresh with 8 pregnancies.

twin calves
Twin calves born in Co. Louth Source: Shay Sheridan

Buckley called the twin calves “a brilliant result” and said “we’re delighted for him”.

Shay Sheridan, whose farm produced the calves, said “they are flying”.

When Sheridan initially learned there would be twins, he said he “thought it was a slip up from the scanner at the time”.

One of Sheridan’s four daughters, Lucy, has taken on the responsibility of looking after the twin calves, which are currently out on grass, and will be left with the decision on when to bring the calves indoors.