How to quickly find a top stock bull this spring
Tired of looking for a good new beef bull? A group of beef pedigree breeders and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) have just made the job easier.
Step 1: Go to: www.icbf.com and click on the ‘Stockbull Finder’ logo on the front page.
Step 2: Put in your search criteria as regards: location; breed; and stars.
Step 3: Scroll through the bulls that came back from your search. Click on the ‘owner’s’ name to get the phone number to ring, and to enquire about possibly buying the bull.
What have these breeders done to have their bulls shortlisted?
- WHPR (Whole Herd Performance Recording) is ICBF’s on-farm performance recording program;
- These pedigree breeders have voluntarily signed up to the WHPR programme and have had their herds independently weighed and scored by the ICBF;
- So only bulls in WHPR pedigree beef herds are displayed.
‘A useful service’
John, David and Mark Finnegan are Simmental pedigree breeders and WHPR participants.
“We operate in Cork under the ‘Leeherd’ prefix within the Simmental breed and have been using WHPR and the Stockbull Finder since it started; we are very strong advocates of the WHPR scheme.
“We have been recording data since the days of the Tully bull intakes, so it’s an added bonus to have the annual on-farm weighing and inspections. It allows us to stand over our own data recording, birth weights and ADG’s, etc.
We buy a herd sire every two-to-three years and the last two have been sourced from other WHPR herds.
“The Stockbull Finder tool is a useful service and we have found that 50% plus of all bull enquiries are now coming through it. In the last month, we have sold four bulls off farm – three buyers came via the service.
“Interestingly, the majority of visitors will have called to three-to-four other WHPR herds [of different breeds] as part of their selection process. So, once they have narrowed their search via the online finder, the visual assessment piece is still very important to them.
“Something else that struck us recently was how buyers like to see the full herd of cows when they come to visit.
“They seem to get more comfort in making a purchase when they understand the environment that the bull was reared in. They will often then return home before deciding on where/what breed to purchase.”
The whole herd
The ‘Leeherd’ Simmental herd gets brought in, weighed and scored by ICBF once every year as part of the ‘WHPR’ programme.
In the old linear scoring programme, it was only young breeding males that were weighed and scored.
However, in the WHPR programme, all cows in the herd are weighed and scored for important traits such as locomotion, udders and teat placement, etc.
Pictured above is ‘Leeherd Beauty’ who is the dam of NCBC bull ‘Leeherd Harry’ (SI4347).
Sired by ‘Kilbride Farm Newry’, she is a 5-star cow for ‘Replacement Index’ with an average calving interval of 376 days after six calvings. She is genotyped and in December 2017, she weighed 766kg.
As all sons and daughters of a herdsire are scored and weighed in a WHPR herd, the herdsire receives very accurate €uro-Stars as they have not been biased by only a select few progeny being seen.
Pictured above is the Leeherd Simmentals herdsire ‘Dermotstown G Mac’ who is a 5-star bull on ‘Replacement Index’. He is genotyped and has a number of sons for sale on the Stockbull Finder.
Stockbull Finder bulls
All young bulls (10 months to three years old) are automatically advertised for sale on the Stockbull Finder after a herd’s annual WHPR visit from the ICBF.
Pictured above is ‘Leeherd Kasper 326’ who is currently advertised for sale on the Stockbull Finder. He is a 5-star bull for ‘Replacement Index’ and all of his weight data is also displayed (see below).
For a beef farmer looking for a new stockbull, the Stockbull Finder is the best online place to start looking as it is the only search engine for beef bulls in Ireland.
All of the bulls have been independently weighed and scored by the ICBF before being displayed.
The ICBF does not advise farmers to purchase a bull on figures alone. The bull must be seen. This is why in the Stockbull Finder the actual weight recorded on each bull is shown alongside the bull’s €uro-Star data.
To find your new beef stockbull, just click here