Looking for a new beef bull? It’s just got a whole lot easier

To help farmers find the stock bull they are looking for, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) recently launched an online beef bull sales section on its website.

Only bulls from Whole Herd Performance Recording (WHPR) herds, that have been weighed and scored, are displayed on the ‘Stockbull Finder’.

So for a beef pedigree breeder, your young bulls will be constantly advertised for sale while they are in your herd.

How does it work?

After a participating pedigree herd gets its whole herd visit completed with the ICBF scorer, all of the pedigree bulls (10-36 months) that were present at the visit are automatically put on the Stockbull Finder. The breeder’s contact details are also displayed to facilitate sales enquiries.

What are the benefits for a beef farmer?

For a beef farmer looking for a new stock bull, the Stockbull Finder is the best online place to start looking; it’s the only search engine for beef bulls in Ireland where all of the bulls have been independently weighed and scored by the ICBF before being displayed.

All of the €uro-Star details have come straight out of the ICBF database and all of the bull’s weight recording, ancestry and genomic details are shown.

The breeder can also put up photos and comments about their bulls. Another benefit is that pedigree breeders, who take part in the WHPR programme, are voluntarily getting their whole pedigree herd independently assessed by the ICBF annually.

Measurements and weights are recorded on all pedigree animals. In addition, participating herds also receive spot check visits from the ICBF to validate the herd’s data.

So from a bull purchaser’s point of view, all of the information needed to make a decision has all been gathered together in one location and has been verified by the ICBF and various breed societies.

What are the benefits for a pedigree breeder?

For a pedigree breeder, the biggest advantage that the Stockbull Finder gives is that it automatically advertises their bulls for sale on the ICBF website after their WHPR visit.

As it stands, the ICBF website gets over two million hits each year from farmers looking for animals. Along with advertising the bull, pedigree breeders will find other benefits from being involved in the WHPR programme.

Scoring and weighing will increase the reliability percentage of an animal’s €uro-Stars. This is really important for a pedigree breeder, as the €uro-Stars of one of their bulls in the Stockbull Finder, having being weighed by the ICBF, are less likely to change.

Animals in participating herds will have a ‘WHPR Stamp’ displayed beside their €uro-Stars, so they can be clearly identified as having come from a performance recorded herd.

How to access it?

  • Step 1: Go to www.icbf.com and click on the Stockbull Finder Logo on the homepage. This logo is displayed below;
  • Step 2: Enter your search criteria, including: location; breed; and stars;
    • Location: You can select individual counties or do a country-wide search;
    • Breed: Select your preferred breed(s) of bull(s);
    • Stars: Set your €uro-Star cut-offs.
  • Step 3: Scroll through the bulls that come back from your search. Click on the owner’s name to get the phone number to ring and inquire about possibly buying the bull.

For example, the following is what the Stockbull Finder returns when you enter the below criteria:

  • Location: Co. Cork;
  • Breed: Limousin;
  • Stars: 5-star replacement index.

55 young pedigree Limousin bulls (10-36 months) were returned. The first few are shown in the graphic below.

By following these steps, we find out that the bull – owned by Frank Buckley – is named Mistic Lotus. He’s a 5-star genotyped, pedigree Limousin bull.

Birth weight and weights throughout the bull’s life have also been recorded. Buckley, from Kildinan, Co. Cork, is joined up to the WHPR programme and has his whole herd visit on April 20, 2017. All of his pedigree animals were weighed, including this bull.

All of his young pedigree bulls are automatically advertised for sale on the Stockbull Finder after the visit.

Click on a thumbnail in the gallery (below) to open up a full-size image; once opened you can scroll sideways to see the next picture.

Click here to access Stockbull Finder

What does a participating pedigree breeder have to do?

For pedigree breeders to comply with the WHPR programme, an ICBF scorer will visit the participating pedigree herd at least once each year.

At this visit, the scorer will record data on the whole pedigree herd; every pedigree animal must be presented.

Participating breeders must also make their herds available for spot check visits from ICBF. These are necessary to validate birth dates and young stock performance; they’re also required to maximise the integrity of all data recorded in the herd.

  • Spot checks will be carried out on a regular basis;
  • Records will be carefully monitored;
  • ICBF will not allow a breeder to remain in the programme that fails to comply with the various data recording requirements of the programme.

Breeders are also encouraged to record birth weights and DIY live weights on their animals. This will add greatly to an animal’s €uro-Star figures.

Breeders must also birth notify any very large calves to the ICBF when they are born.

Weighing cows

The weighing of pedigree cows is a new development. This comes as feed efficiency makes up nearly 20% of the Replacement Index. There is also a direct link between the size of an animal and its feed intake.

It’s important that pedigree cows are weighed so as those cows that are not expensive to keep, but breed a great calf, are rewarded.

It’s important to note that only cows with a calf suckling are to be weighed. It would not be safe or beneficial to weigh heavily in-calf cows.

What does it cost?

The call-out charge is €45 excluding VAT (€51.08 including VAT). The cost per animal is €5 excluding VAT (€5.68 including VAT).

The ICBF will pay for 50% of the cost of weighing the cows in the herd’s first visit. Application forms are available on request, by contacting the ICBF at: 023-8820452 or email at: [email protected]. Click here for more information