The 2021 spring-calving breeding season is entering the closing stages on most dairy farms; as we enter these stages, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) have released some of the data from the 2021 sire advice.

With many of the artificial insemination (AI) companies reporting the breeding season to have gone reasonable well, considering the challenging experienced weather in early May.

Sire advice 2021

From the report, we can see that 3,260 dairy farmers availed of the sire advice facility in 2021 – a 7% increase from 2020 when 3,034 farmers used the facility.

This accounts for the mating of over 473,000 dairy cows and heifers, of this figure 442,971 were assigned a Holstein Friesian AI sire – an increase of 5% from 2020 figures.

Looking at Jersey sires we see that 25,382 cows were matched for mating to a Jersey AI sire, which actually represents a decrease of 11% compared to 2020 figures.

Beef mating allocations increased by 18% for 2021, with 26,636 beef inseminations allocated through sire advice.

Sire advice (01/01/2021 – 06/05/2021)20202021% change
Herds that completed sire advice 2,0343,2607%
Cow/heifer mating’s completed453,731473,0034%
Animals mated to Holstein Friesian or Friesian sires 421,225442,9715%
Animals mated to Jersey sires 28,57325,382-11%
Animals selected for beef mating 22,61226,63618%
Table source: ICBF

Top 20 bulls

Looking at the top 20 bulls, we see that the average economic breeding index (EBI) of the bulls was €287 and that the sub-index value for fertility was €111.

Taking a closer look at the list, we can see that 15 of the top 20 bulls are genomic bulls and that the average EBI of the daughter proven bulls chosen was €271, with a fertility sub-index value of €106.

While taking the genomic bulls alone, the average EBI came to €295 with a fertility sub-index value of €121.

This shows that a good fertility sub-index is clearly seen from the majority of top 20 chosen dairy sires for this year’s breeding season.

Table source: ICBF