ICBF and the programme partners, have recently launched the exciting new Gene Ireland panel of high Replacement Index beef bulls for Spring 2020. Building on the success of previous programmes, these bulls have been selected on their potential to deliver in two key areas.
Firstly, to produce heifers which are fertile and will have an adequate level of milk and secondly, to produce a heifer that will deliver a calf with good beef attributes for traits such as growth rate, conformation and feed efficiency. Currently there are 9 bulls across 7 beef breeds available on the panel and their average Replacement Index is an impressive €132. These bulls offer farmers the opportunity to avail of cutting edge genetics at the very attractive price of €5 per straw. Straws are delivered direct to a farmers DIY tank or to the AI technician of their choosing. The panel of bulls currently available is detailed in Table 1 below and all the bulls full Eurostar indexes are available on the Animal Search facility at www.icbf.com. To order straws call ICBF on 023 8820452.
Table 1. List of Bulls currently available
|Name of Bull
|Replacement Index €
|Across Breed Stars
|Kilgulbin Parthenaise Logan
|Shiloh Hot Rod
|Bearna-Dhearg Honda 50
G€N€ IR€LAND programme proving a success.
Early results are very positive for the bulls which had semen dispatched since 2014. These were the first bulls selected by the Gene Ireland breed committees and are now hitting the >70% reliability mark for Replacement Index. On average the 6 bulls detailed in Table 2 below have sired 263 daughters which have now calved themselves. They are proving to have produced profitable females retained by farmers for breeding and in many cases the calves on farm performance has led to the sires indexes increasing. These sires have, at this early stage, a lot of key data collected on their progeny such as calving records, weaning weights and even feed intake in Tully. These bulls are good examples of how a young bull can reach a high level of reliability quickly via a structured progeny testing programme.
Table 2. Details on some bulls tested via Gene Ireland and are now > 70% reliability on Replacement Index.
|Repl Index €
|Repl Rel %
|Beef Cow CD%
|Beef Cow CD Rel%
Gene Ireland User Profile
Wilson Kells runs a herd of 60 commercial suckler cows alongside a store lamb fattening system near Arva in Co. Cavan. He has been a user of Gene Ireland straws for the last 10 years and currently over half the animals in the herd are sired by Gene Ireland bulls. He is also an active participant in the BDGP, GLAS, BEEP-S and BEAM schemes. The herd is comprised mainly of Charolais, Limousin and Simmental cows with a small amount of Angus and Salers starting to be used with good results. All progeny are brought to beef with the males as bulls under 16 months and females not selected for breeding being finished at 24 months. All the replacement heifers are sired by AI bulls with the ICBF indexes being used to identify sires strong for milk, docility whilst also maintaining calving ease.
One of the standout cows in Wilsons herd is IE121016651194. Sired by the Gene Ireland Charolais sire YBH (Ballym Henri) and born in March 2015, this cow first calved at 25 months and has produced an incredible 6 calves (2 sets of twins) in four years. She currently has a Replacement Index of €177 with a calving interval figure of 360 days and her first daughter has been retained in the herd for breeding. This cow is a great example of what can be achieved in the suckler beef industry through a combination of genetics and top class management.
Cow 1194 Data
“The future of suckler farming is reliant on a combination of targeted action focussed support schemes and the on farm production of a top quality traceable and sustainable product. If we get these two things working together, I feel there is a viable future in suckler farming”.