Alan Jagoe and his family run a 300-cow pedigree Holstein Friesian herd under the prefix of Ballindeasig on the outskirts of Nohoval, Co. Cork. The dairy enterprise is primarily Spring calving with a small number of cows calving during the winter months. Alan has been heavily concentrating on progressing the genetic merit of the herd in recent years. He has been doing this through data recording and the use of ICBF applications.
Milk recording data, AI usage, Sire Advice, participation in the DNA Calf Registration Programme and Gene Ireland are all vital for the herd to strive towards the target of breeding cows that can produce 600 kgs of milk solids. The Jagoe family have been availing of the HerdPlus service for many years and find that by studying the various reports and profiles available, they are better able to monitor their performance and make more informed breeding decisions.
As of the latest January 2023 Evaluation, the herd EBI currently stands at €186 which ranks the herd in the top 25% in the country.
HERD PERFOMANCE 2022
- Milk solids yield/cow: 554 kgs
- Fat: 4.31 %
- Protein: 3.72 %
- Six Week Calving Rate: 74%
- Heifers Calved at 22-26 months: 92%
Gene Ireland progeny first arrived in Spring 2017. According to Alan, Gene Ireland is an important ‘part of the jigsaw’ in order to strive towards their specific breeding goals for the herd which is reflected in the herd EBI figures at the moment. Having the opportunity to access the highest EBI bulls through the programme in Alan’s opinion, aids in making significant leaps in genetic gain for the next generation.
Alan stresses the importance of knowing the correct sire and dam shortly after the birth through the DNA Registration Programme as it eliminates the possibility of inbreeding down the line when he knows that the parentage of his animals are correct. In addition to this, access to genomics early in the animals life helps greatly when selecting animals for breeding and when selling surplus stock for example.
ICBF Sire Advice is an important tool used by the Balindeasig herd to help narrow down a possible team of sires to be mated on the herd. Alan selects sires based on overall EBI and its sub-indices, pedigree information, milk recording data and type traits such as legs and feet as cows have to walk over 2 kilometres twice a day when grazing the furthest away paddock.
Currently the highest EBI female in the herd as a result of Gene Ireland breeding is Ballindeasig Casper 3205 who was born on 20th January 2023. This calf is sired by Oldcastletown Casper (FR7752) and out of an Oldcastletown Phantom (OPH) dam who produced 508 kgs of combined fat and protein in her first lactation with an average SCC of 97.
Milking progeny form the Gene Ireland programme are also producing the goods for Alan as can be seen in this example. Ballindeasig 2426 Rosie is a 2018 born animal and has impressive production figures. Rosie has an EBI of €255 and is sired by Kiltrea Jack (FR2048). This animal is extremely fertile having calved her first calf at 23 months of age and her latest calving interval is 354 days. On her third lactation, she produced 7815 kgs of milk at 4.76% fat and 3.57% protein with a low SCC of 67. This cow produced 651 kgs of milk solids which is the type of cow Alan aims to breed going forward.
Ballindeasig Fiveo 2690 is a daughter of Rosie who was born on 3rd February 2022. The current EBI of this animal is €200 and sired by the Gene Ireland sire Viaductview Fiveo (FR5971), who is a son of the widely used Ballygown Albert (FR4513).
Ballindeasig Heywood 2699 is a 2020 born animal sired by Ballymaddock Heywood (FR4842). She calved her first calf in January 2022 at 24 months of age and holds a calving interval of 369 days. This animal is proving to be a protein machine for Alan averaging 3.84% protein in her first lactation. Currently, this cow is in her second lactation and has had two heifer calves to date sired by Highmount Stark (FR5803) and Lakemarsh Alberto (FR7050). Both progeny have EBI figures in excess of €300. Her dam, Ballindeasig 2436 Meg is sired by a 2016 Gene Ireland sire, Umma Cuddy Peaks (FR2436) who is now currently in her fourth lactation having produced a lifetime yield in excess of 1500 kgs of combined fat and protein with a calving interval of 361 days.
The Jagoes are very happy with how their herd is progressing in terms of meeting their genetic goals and believe that Gene Ireland sires are playing a significant part in this this. Alan makes a good point that, in cattle breeding you are never finished when you reach your breeding target. You always strive to be better and push on that little bit more which is a contributing factor as to why the Ballindeasig herd is where it is today on its journey.
Sign up to HerdPlus today to avail of Gene Ireland Straws for the upcoming breeding season online or by calling 023-8820452.