There has been a large increase in beef AI usage in the national dairy herd, with the number of beef inseminations for the year to date, up 25% compared with the same period last year. Table 1 shows a total of 79,760 beef inseminations in the dairy herd for 2019 compared with 63,675 in 2018. The figures are based on Technician serves up until 24th May. It also shows a 9% increase in dairy inseminations with the combined total for dairy and beef up 11%.
These are very positive figures from a breeding perspective, given that AI genetics are far superior than those of the average stock bull. It also shows that farmers are taking on board Teagasc advice, to maximise the use of beef crossing in the dairy herd so as to increase the potential value of the resulting calves.
Figures in Table 2 give a breakdown of the 7 main AI breeds used in the dairy herd. Hereford and Angus inseminations are neck and neck for the top used breed, making up over 50,000 serves, which represents about 63% of total beef AI usage in dairy cows.
While dairy inseminations are up by over 36,000 (+9%), Friesian and Jersey AI usage is back on the 2018 figures. Friesian is back by almost 3,000 or 10% and Jersey is well back, with the number of inseminations falling by 5,692 from 28,000 to 22,308, a 20% drop on 2018 usage.
Belgian Blue’s show the largest percentage increase, up 42% to 13,251 inseminations, followed by Limousin, showing a 26% increase.