Brendan Hinchion spoke to ICBF recently about his farm history, the system, his breeding policy and his use of dairy genomics. Brendan started farming when he was 18, developed the farm by putting in roadways, paddocks, a water system & cubicles.
Initialy, the focus of the farm was around protein and milk solids.
“We didn’t really reliase that we were doing anything worthwhile until the EBI system was introduced and when the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation was set up”
Brendan leaves the very best of his Friesians remain Friesian, the best of the Norwegian Reds remain Norwegian Red & Pedigree and anything in between is crossbred.
Brendan uses HerdPlus Sire Advice each breeding season. He firstly uses C.O.W. (Cow’s Own Worth) to eliminate cows that will be bred to beef AI.
In addition, Brendan genomic tests all of his eligible females and then picks the best of them for breeding. “The Cow’s EBI is €184 with youngstock close to €200”.
“We’ll look at their Milk and Fertility sub-indices and we’ll want to select bulls on the friesian side of it with anyway with a fertility figure of €120+ and a milk sub index of about €70”
Moreover, He is very concious when breeding to look after the “Health sub-index with the future question around dry cow theropy”
Using a large team of bulls is vitally important.
“When we looked at our own discussion group, the farmers that used a large range of bulls, had more genetic gain over a 10 year period than a lot of other herds in our discussion group, where those guys would have selected a small team of bulls”