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The Gene Ireland Dairy Beef Programme was recently launched with industry partners at Mount Wolseley Hotel, Co. Carlow.

– ICBF and Teagasc expects that beef AI usage in the dairy herd will grow significantly over the next number of years, due to; (i) an expanding dairy herd, (ii) demand for more beef from the dairy herd, and (iii) potential application of sexed semen technology.
– Irish dairy farmers are very risk averse in relation to using beef AI on the dairy herd. Unless they are confident that the bull is easy calving and short gestation bulls, they will not make the switch to beef AI.

– To ensure more accurate genetic evaluations for beef traits related to the dairy herd, most notably calving difficulty (%), gestation length and calf quality.
– To help AI partners & breeders identify new beef bloodlines that will be suitable for the dairy herd.

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Martin Kane ABP, Ciaran Costello ICBF, Joe Burke Bord Bia, Stephen Connolly ABP, Finbarr McDonnell ABP, Padraig French Teagasc. Also included are some photographs from the ABP R&D farm in Co. Carlow.

The Teagasc/ABP dairy beef programme is directly linked with the ICBF Gene Ireland dairy beef programme. Dairy farmers involved with the Gene Ireland Dairy Programme have the option, if interested, of using straws from beef bulls suitable for use in dairy cows.

What are the Objectives of the G€N€ IR€LAND® Dairy Programme?

The objective of the Gene Ireland Dairy programme is to test 60-70 bulls each year and that each bull would have 100 heifer replacements recorded in 100 herds, by year 4 of the programme.

Gene Ireland Dairy is focused on three key areas:

  1. The selection of high EBI young bulls.
  2. Progeny testing the young bulls on a “Targeted” set of herds.
  3. Elite bulls are returned to AI.

More information can be found on https://www.icbf.com/?page_id=179

Where does the Gene Ireland Dairy Beef Programme come in?

In 2016, there were approximately 650 dairy farmers involved in the Gene Ireland Dairy Programme. Of these, 250 dairy farmers showed interest in being involved in the Gene Ireland Dairy Beef Programme.

For the Dairy Beef programme, suitable bulls are identified by the participating AI companies; NCBC, Eurogene AI and ICBF. These are unproven, short gestation, easy calving sires, i.e. sires that are typically chosen for use on dairy cows.

The test straws are sent out to the dairy farmers in packs of 35 straws (5 bulls x 7 straws). The allocation of bulls per pack is chosen at random, herd-owners do not get a choice of individual test bulls. There is no particular requirement on how these straws are used (i.e. at what point they are used during the breeding season), this is up to the discretion of the herd-owner.

2015 Programme 2016 Programme
2750 straws (purchased by 108 farmers) 5,666 straws distributed
12 bulls;

6 Angus, 4 Hereford and 2 Limousin

14 bulls;

Angus, Hereford, Limousin and Shorthorn

1400 recorded inseminations 3,760 inseminations
51% recorded inseminations 66% recorded inseminations

Of the calves born, 600 are bought back by Teagasc/ABP at 2 to 3 weeks of age for the Teagasc/ABP Dairy Beef Programme; 250 are sent to Johnstown castle and 350 to the ABP Trial Farm. The rest of the calves are reared commercially.

Details of the Teagasc/ABP Dairy Beef Programme are available here.

To receive more information on Dairy/Beef Programme please contact Niall Kilrane on 045 521 573.