The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s (ICBF) HerdPlus has added a new beef artificial insemination (AI) usage table to its weekly fertility report citing “the increasing usage of beef bulls in the dairy herd” as the reason for the addition.

The new table includes details of beef bulls used on the dairy herd since the mating start date entered when generating the Weekly Fertility report.

The table (which can be seen below) outlines the number of serves of each beef AI bull used since the mating start date.

The table also displays the total number of beef AI serves and the percentage of total serves of each bull since the mating start date.

The list of bulls is ordered in accordance with the number of serves, highest to lowest. It also includes the weighted average figures of the bull used.

The report allows up to 25 bulls on the list and if the bulls used exceeds this figure, the bulls weighed average figure is still based on all the bulls, not just the ones listed.

The example below is a sample of how the table should look:

According to the ICBF, the weekly fertility report will allow farmers to check out how their cows are performing on a weekly basis, compared to the national average.

The report also aims to help farmers to track 21-day and 42-day submission rates along with the percentage of cows calved greater than 30 days at mating start date and not yet submitted within 21 days of the mating start date.

To increase the accuracy of the report, the ICBF is advising farmers to ensure that all serves are recorded and up to date, especially in DIY herds.

The graph above shows dairy herd fertility trends from 2016-2023:

The ICBF advised farmers doing DIY AI to ensure apps are linked to the ICBF database “so serves will which automatically come onto the ICBF system”.

In addition, the ICBF advises to mark any females that you won’t be breeding for culling. This will remove them from the fertility reports”.

The two key things need before calculating the weekly fertility report are the calving start date and mating start date.

Some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) will also only display after a certain number of days into the breeding season, e.g., the 42-day submission rate will not populate for own herd if the report is generated before 42 days.

Dairy bull usage

This section in the weekly fertility report aims to help farmers ensure that a team of dairy bulls are being used equally during the breading season, so appropriate action can be taken if individual bulls are being overused before dairy AI usage finishes on the farm.

The section outlines the main breeding guidelines on the minimum number of bulls to be used in the herd and the maximum bull usage recommended for individual bulls during the breeding season.