IHFA leads in Irish genomics trend

Pedigree Holstein Friesian bulls registered with the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) continue to be a rich genetic resource for Irish dairy farmers. 

This is according to Helen O’Callaghan of the IHFA. Speaking to AgriLand, she said clear and significant genetic trends in its male population have emerged following the decision taken by the board last year to introduce genomic testing using SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) technology.

“2,500 males were pedigree registered using the breakthrough DNA based technology during 2013. Of the males born last year who attained IHFA pedigree status 933 had an EBI over €200.”

O’Callaghan continued: “Indeed there are 41 bulls with an EBI over €300. The top bull had an EBI of €79 and has been purchased for AI. 1,421 Bulls had a Fertility Sub Index of greater than €100 and the highest Fertility Sub Index rating is €255.”

The IFHA noted a parallel trend also emerged from the population of classified (linear scored) cows.

“Within the 2013 registered bulls, bred from VG/EX dams and VG/EX Grand-Dams there are 105 bulls with an EBI over €200. Six bulls have an EBI greater than €300. To date, seven bulls have been coded for AI use by Irish AI stations.”

According to O’Callaghan, the SNP technology has developed with the evolution in genomic testing for cattle.

“The effect of the board decision means that all male animals receive genomic breeding values in addition to parentage validation from a single tissue sample. Commercial farmers buying stock bulls will gain added reliability and higher genetic merit when breeding the next generation in their herd,” she added.

The Irish Holstein Friesian Association calendar 2014

APRIL
9th Moorepark Open Day. Next Generation Herd.
15th IHFA AGM (provisional date)
16th Kilkenny Bull Sale (2nd sale)
26th Emerald Expo 2014 Venue: Cillin Hill, Kilkenny

MAY / JUNE
National Herds Competition

JULY

9th IHFA Open Day
John & Graeme Taylor,
Clonboygher, Co. Leitrim.

18th Irish Pure Friesian Open Day
Martin Crowe’s Doon,
Co Limerick

29th & 30th YMA National Calf   Finals

AUGUST
10th Tullamore ShowAIB National Livestock Show
20th Baileys Champion Cow

SEPTEMBER

17th UK Dairy Day
23rd – 25th  National Ploughing Championships, Ratheniska, Co. Laois.

OCTOBER
18th National Dairy Show,
Green Glens Arena, Millstreet