ICBF has 24 new Beef Gene Ireland Maternal bulls for farmers looking to improve milk and fertility performance in their herds.

Currently available, there are just 500 straws on each bull, so numbers are limited and, according to Ciaran Costello, Beef Breeding Specialist with ICBF, the federation have already received strong demand from farmers.

“Each breed has its own merits. Each bull in the catalogue has passed a rigours selection process in terms of his replacement indexes. It’s very simple, it’s all about breeding replacement heifers with strong maternal traits. These bulls are designed to do this.’’

“In the last few years the Terminal Index was number one on every farmer’s list,  this steered farmer’s away from maternal traits as they focused less on the Replacement Indexes, resulting in heifers being produced with little milk and fertility, impacting negatively on herd performance.’’

“The aim of using straws from Gene Ireland bulls is to produce top quality maternal beef replacements. These bulls will produce top quality replacement heifers without compromising on calf confirmation or growth rate, which is very important from the farmer’s point of view.’’

He said that replacement heifers provide an opportunity to drive productivity through genetic gain. “Milk and fertility are the main drivers of production. If you can’t get a cow back in calf or if you have a cow that has very little milk, production costs are increased and this is the problem we are tackling. By farmers using these straws, they are implementing maternal genetics into their herd.”

Straws are €5 each and a minimum order of five straws from a bull is necessary, while there is a limit of 20 straws from a bull. It is important for farmers to order the straws they want as soon as possible as to avoid disappointment, he said.

Any farmer interested in using straws of any of these high index bulls is asked to contact ICBF at 1850 600 900.