According to the Irish Cattle Breeders’ Federation (ICBF), this year’s spring Dairy Gene Ireland programme now has over 800 herds signed up to receive straws, and is fast approaching its capacity.

They are encouraging farmers who are interested in signing up for the programme to do so before it’s too late to avoid disappointment.

Dairy Gene Ireland

The bulls available through this year’s dairy programme are the best genetics available, with an average economic breeding index (EBI) of €308.

Building a pack of these bulls into your breeding programme will not only help to accelerate your herd’s genetic gain, but will also ensure that more EBI-high bulls are progeny tested for initial calving and male fertility data, with the very best of these then returned for widespread artificial insemination (AI) next season.

By using the bulls as part of a bull team (with an average of seven straws/bull), you will minimise the risk of changes to any one bull, resulting in a group of replacement females entering your herd in spring 2024, with excellent potential for improved profitability and sustainability.

Straws are available in packs of 35 (5 bulls x 7 straws), 49 (7 bulls x 7 straws), 70 (7 bulls x 10 straws) and 100 (10 bulls x 10 straws), with packs then made available up to a maximum of 35% of your dairy straw requirement.

Packs are distributed to participating herds through sales reps or AI technicians.

Why Use Gene Ireland bulls?

  • Access to the latest genetics;
  • The average pack EBI of these bulls is €200 more than the national average;
  • Value for money, only €12 per straw;
  • The success of the programme has meant that over 90% of the bulls on the active bull list are bred from Irish dairy herds;
  • Reduced prices for genotyping will be offered for herds participating in Dairy Gene Ireland. Details will be available in early summer.

Requirements for herds to participate in the programme involve milk recording; recording inseminations; sire and calving ease details; using all allocated straws in the current season; and providing health information as it becomes available on daughters of these bulls.

Sire Advice Submission

The deadline for the submission of HerdPlus Dairy Sire Advice for inclusion in the HerdPlus Breeding Chart is (Monday) April 5.

Herd owners will have until this date to run the dairy sire advice for their herd so that the chosen matings can be included in the breeding charts before they are printed.

The HerdPlus Dairy Sire Advice is updated with the latest figures for all AI bulls (March 2021). If you have previously run sire advice, you can now re-run it.

Sire advice is an application that is available to all dairy HerdPlus users. This application allows you to select the bulls you wish to use for the breeding season and match these bulls to the most suitable cows.

The application allows users to do this in one of two ways:

  1. Sire Advice Plus: Narrow your selection of bulls by entering ranges for particular traits of importance for your herd e.g. you may only want bulls above a certain % on protein, or bulls from a certain AI organisation;
  2. Manually enter bulls: If you have already selected your team of bulls you can simply enter these bulls and run the application.

The HerdPlus Sire Advice application helps to accelerate genetic gain by matching the selected bulls with the most suitable cows.

Once saved, the suggested matings are made available to AI technicians and are also made available to farmers through, HerdPlus Breeding Charts.