Gene Ireland Maternal Bull Breeder Participant James Wycherley with one of his Festin (FTN) cows and her Fieldson Alfy (S511) calf.

 Background of the herd: James started his pedigree herd with the purchase of 2 in-calf heifers in 1988. He has been breeding on from these. Some ET work has been done over the year to help grow the herd.

 Maternal Breeding: The herd consists of 14 pedigree cows, their replacements and young bulls for sale. The herd has an average maternal rating of €170 which puts it in the top 10% of the breed. The young stock in the herd have an average maternal index of €171 (top 10%).

 Top Maternal Cows: The best cow in James’ herd is Barryroe Vanessa (Nenuphar x Talent). She is 10 years old and has produced 7 calves  with an average calving interval of 368 days. She has a maternal index of €201 which outs her in the top 10% of the breed.

 Key traits of interest: For James, milk fertility and maintaining good terminal traits are vital. He feels that the key is to get a balance. He also feels that while the breed is making good progress on the terminal side, higher levels of calving difficulty  are also starting to creep in.

 Recent Sires used: James primarily uses AI and has been using sires such as Bavardage (AGB), On-Dit (ONI), Ampertaine Foreman (S1421), Huntershall Gladiator (S1564). Up to 2010 James had a renowned stock bull in the form of Brookmill Vindicator (VDT). Vindicator was purchased from the Smiths in 2005. He is also an AI bull and his semen is available from NCBC.

 Breeder’s comment: “ICBF has made big strides over the last 6 years in beef breeding. The new index is another improvement as it will define breeding stock according to what they are best suited to. The increased weighting on calving difficulty is also significant as hard calving is something farmers do not want.”