There are 490 herds signed-up to the Dairy Gene Ireland Programme taking a total of 19,628 straws ordered to date. The dairy breeding programme is a key component of the Irish dairy industry with the aim of providing farmers with new genetics and increase the rate of genetic gain in EBI.

Breed Pack Allocations and Sire Advice 2024

All dairy straws have now been allocated to participating herds. The allocation of breed packs have all been completed to all participating herds. Once a herd has been allocated a pack of bulls, details of the bulls allocated are sent to the herd-owner via text message

To maximise genetic gain, use the sire advice application to match the allocated Gene Ireland bulls to the most suitable cows in their herd. This will increase herd EBI and reduce the variation between the milk and fertility sub index. A cow that has low milk sub index, it will get matched to a Gene Ireland Bull that high milk sub index. A new feature on the Sire Advice application programme will show the allocated G€N€ IR€LAND bulls on the manual enter bull screen.

Benefits of the programme for farmers

The main benefits for farmers taking part in the programme include excellent value for money and access to some of the highest EBI young sires available thus speeding up the rate of genetic gain in their own herd. It also gives the opportunity to be involved in a programme that is delivering real benefits for the dairy Industry. As they are the first farmers to use the highest genetic merit bulls based on genomics, these herds are of great interest to AI companies sourcing young animals for the breeding program.

Contribution of Gene Ireland Bulls

To date, over 1,000 bulls have been tested through Dairy Gene Ireland, with over 450,000 straws distributed across several thousand herds. The on-going collection of data is vital for the accuracy of genetic and genomic evaluations for dairy bulls. The information gathered by participating herds will usually form the basis of the first proof for AI bulls. Getting an accurate first proof is essential as these sires can then be used in the genomic training population, further increasing the reliabilities of genomic proofs, as well as being identified as potential sires of the next generation of elite young bulls. Today, over 95% of sires on the ICBF Active bull list have been tested through the programme are Irish bred., is an indication to the success of the Dairy Gene Ireland Programme.

Requirements for herds to participate in the programme involve recording inseminations, sire and calving ease details, using all allocated straws in the current season and providing health information as it becomes available on daughters of these bulls.

If you have any questions on the programme please call the HerdPlus Team on 023-8820452 or email [email protected]