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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 Summer 2018. 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.

Since the inception of the Gene Ireland programme in 2007 a total of 180 beef bulls have been progeny tested. 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 12 bulls is made up of 7 beef breeds and the average Replacement Index of the panel is an impressive €147. 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 below. To order straws call ICBF on 023 8820452.

G€N€ IR€LAND program 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 >50% 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 that are > 50% reliability on their Replacement Index.

Code Born Replacement Index Replacement Reliability Calving Difficulty % Calving Diff Reliability % Total Progeny Weaning Weights
KTM 2012 €162 *Dec 17 64% 3.9% 85% 195 49
LM2151 2013 €149 *Dec 17 56% 3.9% 84% 182 60
LZZ 2012 €143 *Dec 17 72% 5.9% 92% 435 100
YBH 2012 €106 *Dec 17 69% 7.0% 85% 181 64
JBS 2012 €124 *Dec 17 60% 1.8% 81% 146 37

One such bull that has come through the programme in recent years is the Simmental bull Lisnacrann Demertios (Code: LZZ). Bred in Co Mayo by Michael Oliver this bull was identified for purchase via the Gene Ireland breed committee in Autumn 2013 and his 500 straws were distributed on the Spring 2014 programme.  This bulls index has increased as data on his progeny is coming back into the ICBF database to be compared to other bulls. All the indications are that bulls like LZZ and those listed in Table 2 will produce females that will make profitable suckler cows for commercial farmers.

LZZ: Bred by Michael Oliver, Co Mayo

LM2151: Bred by Dan O’Mahony, Co Cork

JBS: Bred by Joseph J McCormack, Co Roscommon