What was the most popular beef AI sire during spring 2020?

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) recently released data outlining the most popular beef AI sires in suckler herds for the first six months of 2020.

Castleview Gazelle (ZAG), Fiston (FSZ) and Cavelands Fenian (LZF) booked the top three spots with 10,438, 9,969 and 5,131 calves respectively on the ground.

Additionally, Limousin sires Elderberry Galahad (EBY) and Moondharrig Knell (LM4217) completed the top five positions with 4,983 and 4,512 calves respectively.

A common sight when it comes to AI usage in the suckler herd, Limousin and Charolais sires take the lion’s share in the top 10 positions, with three Charolais and one Limousin sire making up the remaining five positions.

In fact, only one other breed features in the top 10 – Angus bull Cornamuckla Lord Hardy K222 (KYA) took ninth place with 1,777 calves on the ground.

Beef AI sires with the most progeny recorded from Jan 1 to June 30, 2020. Source: ICBF

According to the ICBF, some 647,698 beef calves (beef sire X beef dam) were born on Irish farms in the first six months of 2020.

Of these, 109,840 are registered to beef AI sires – representing approximately 17% of all beef calves born. Furthermore, 55% of the calves were registered to stockbulls, with 27% approximately having no sire recorded.

Moreover, these 10 bulls account for 42.6% of all the AI progeny born in the first half of this year.

From the table (above), one trend is evident – suckler farmers are focusing on using bulls of high genetic merit combined with a high reliability figure.

The average replacement index of the 10 bulls is €118 (5-stars across breed). Similarly, on the terminal index, the group average is quite impressive at €132 (5-stars across breed).

Breed breakdown

The ICBF also published the most used sires within some of the common breeds found on suckler farms.

Firstly, looking at the Angus breed, the top three sires are listed below and account for 3.3% of all AI-bred progeny for the first six months of 2020.

Source: ICBF

The Simmental breed has three bulls accounting for 2.8% of all calves sired by AI bulls, with the three sires averaging €181 on the Replacement Index (5-stars within and across breed).

Source: ICBF

Finally, Manitou de Belle Eau (DBZ) leads the way for the Belgian Blue breed, with 526 calves registered.

Source: ICBF