ICBF has announced its latest panel of Gene Ireland bulls, consisting of 14 high index bulls from 10 different breeds.
According to ICBF’s Beef Breeding Analyst Ciaran Costello, these bulls have been sourced to tackle the deteriorating performance of the maternal traits in the national suckler herd, namely milk and fertility.
“It is important to note that the profitability of a suckler herd is directly related to the number of calves reared per cow per year.
“So, concentrating on breeding the next generation of replacement heifers is crucial in terms of improving the maternal traits in the national suckler herd,” Costello said.
The Beef Breeding Analyst also said that the breeding decisions made on farm now will have an impact on the future genetics of the herd and farmers can purchase straws from these bulls for €5 each.
The replacement rate in Irish suckler herds is 16% – so in five years’ time approximately 90% of the current cows on farms across the country will be gone.”
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Costello added that the performance of the Irish suckler herd is lagging and cows are not hitting their production targets.
“Currently, the calf per cow per year figure stands at 0.78, the target is 0.95 live calves per cows year.
“The average calving interval for the national suckler herd is currently 406 days which is 50 days longer than the target of 365 days,” he said.
The ICBF representative said that it is important to remember that these bulls and their dams have passed rigorous inspections.
“These bulls are designed to breed more milk and better fertility into the national suckler herd,” he said.