Holstein Friesian calves dominate 2020 calf team on Green Acres farms

On the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme farms, an increase in the number of spring-born, Holstein Friesian (HOFR) calves was witnessed this spring – increasing to 624 head from 510 head in the spring of 2019.

The reason for this increase is mostly based on relative value for money in calf price, along with the first year of results coming from the dairy calf-to-beef trials in Teagasc Grange.

The following data has been compiled by the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme management team, consisting of Alan Dillon, James Fitzgerald and Seán Cummins.

88 different AI bulls sired 548 of these calves: 10 calves were sired by stock bulls and 68 calves have no recorded sire. FR2239, FR2298, FR4337, FR4513 and FR4554 are the five most common AI sires for the spring-2020 calves.

The EBI, carcass weight and beef merit of these sires is shown in the table (below).

Autumn-born calves (2019)

In total, there are 138 2019 autumn-born, dairy-bred calves in the programme. 50 different AI bulls sired 108 of these calves; the remaining 30 calves have no recorded sire.

FR2239, FR4221, FR4513 and PKX are the four most common AI sires for the autumn cohort, although the number of progeny off all of these bulls is relatively low.

The EBI, carcass weight and beef merit of these sires is shown in the table (below).

Hereford

The second-most popular sire breed is Hereford, accounting for 130 of the spring-2020 and autumn-2019 calves purchased by farmers participating in the programme (75 heifers and 55 bulls).

In total, 11 are sired by stock bulls, 58 are registered to AI sires, while 61 calves have no sire data available.

The five most prevalent sires are: HE2043; HE4045; HE4297; GPZ; and SPL.

Aberdeen Angus

83 Angus calves are present on the Teagasc Green Acres farms, split between 59 spring 2020 born and 24 autumn 2019-born calves (37 bulls and 46 heifers).

The majority of these animals are registered as being sired by stock bulls (53), eight are recorded as being AI sired, while 22 have no sire recorded. Of the stock bulls, just three had >5 progeny on any of the Teagasc Green Acres farms.

The Dairy Beef Index (DBI) of this sub-set of animals averaged €73 (38% reliability), while their carcass weight figures averaged 5.3kg (42% reliability). The AI sires with progeny present are: KYA; AA4089; AA4640; and AA2123.

Continental

143 continental calves are present on the Teagasc Green Acres farms, split between 139 spring 2020 born and four autumn 2019-born calves (66 bulls and 77 heifers).

The majority of these animals are registered as being sired by AI bulls (92), 19 are recorded as being stock bull sired, while 32 have no sire recorded.

Belgian blue is the most prevalent continental sire (84 calves), followed by Limousin (31 calves), Aubrac (18 calves), Charolais (five calves) and Simmental (five calves).

Eight continental bulls had >5 progeny on any of the Teagasc Green Acres farms (seven AI bulls, one stock bull). The DBI and carcass weight data of these bulls is outlined in the table (below).