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ICBF and the programme partners, have recently launched the exciting new Gene Ireland panel of high replacement index beef bulls for Spring 2019. 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 good growth rate and conformation.

In 2012 the focus  moved to selecting bulls with more maternal traits, in response to a decline in milk and fertility in the Irish Suckler herd. This latest panel of 18 bulls is made up of 11 beef breeds and the average Replacement Index of the panel is an impressive €133. 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 his choosing. The panel of bulls currently available is detailed in the below catalogue. To order straws call ICBF on 023 8820452.

Hashtag (BA4550)
Knottown Randy (SA4684)

G€N€ IR€LAND programme proving a success.

Early results are very positive for the bulls which had semen dispatched in Spring 2014. These were the first bulls selected by the Gene Ireland breed committees and are now reaching the >60% reliability mark for Replacement Index. 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 and weaning weights. 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 through the Gene Ireland programme which are > 60% reliability on their Replacement Index.

Code Born Replacement Index Replacement Reliability Calving Difficulty % Calving Diff Reliability % Total Progeny Weaning Weights
KTM 2012 €187 71% 4.1 86 241 49
LZZ 2012 €124 79% 5.7 93 478 105
PPA 2013 €107 69% 4.1 88 274 97
YBH 2012 €109 73% 7.2 85 183 67

These bulls were identified for purchase via the Gene Ireland breed committee in Autumn 2013 and their 500 straws were distributed on the Spring 2014 programme.  These bulls indexes have remained high as data on their progeny is coming back into the ICBF database and been compared to other bulls. All the indications are that bulls like those listed in Table 2 will produce females that will make profitable suckler cows for commercial farmers and help to drive the national suckler herd forward in terms of genetic gain.

KTM: Bred by Richard Fortune, Co Wexford
LZZ: Bred by Michael Oliver, Co Mayo
YBH: Bred by Louise Quinn, Co Offaly