Maximise genetic gain with Sire Advice this breeding season

The 2023 breeding season is almost upon us and it’s time to start thinking about your 2023 bull team selection. Many dairy farmers will be opting to use sexed semen this year. With the use of sexed semen on the rise, ICBF has developed a NEW sexed semen option as part of the Sire Advice Plus application. Sire Advice is available to all dairy HerdPlus herds. Farmers can simply and quickly use the Female Selector screen filter options to select the most suitable females in the herd for sexed semen.

Key criteria for identifying females for sexed semen:

  • High EBI  Females with an EBI of greater than €150 should be considered for sexed semen. Typically, heifers fall into this category.
  • Days Calved (based on planned mating start date) – It is recommended that cows should be at least 60 days calved before considering them for sexed semen.
  • Recorded Serves (from the previous lactation)- Cows that went in calf to 1 serve are most optimum. Cows that got numerous serves in the previous lactation before going in calf may have fertility issues.
  • Health Events Females who have not had health issues in the past such as mastitis, retained placenta, lameness etc. All recorded health events will display on the female selector screen. It is critical that farmers record health events on the herd so this function is accurate.

To start, select the Sire Advice Plus option. You will then be asked to select the sexed semen option and enter your Planned Mating Start Date.

When using the female selector screen farmers will have a number of options.

For breeding dairy replacements:

    1. Farmers can select Default which will result in 3 mating options to conventional Dairy semen for each cow.
    2. They can opt for Sexed and Default. This will provide a sexed option and 2 conventional dairy options in the sire advice matings.
    3. Farmers can opt for Sexed and Beef. This will provide a sexed dairy option to use first on the cow and if she repeats there will be 2 additional beef options.
    4. Females can be marked for Selective mating and Crossbreeding
    5. Other criteria farmers can filter on include lactation, EBI, Milk Sub index, Fertility Sub index, Carbon, Milk KG, Fat % and Protein %.

For cows you do not wish to breed dairy replacements from you can list them for beef only or mark for culling.

Bull Team Selection

  • On the bull selector screen, farmers can now select dairy bulls for sexed semen by using the available filter options.
  • Dairy and beef sires for conventional use on cows and heifers may also be selected. Sires for females that have been selected for crossbreeding should also be added at this point.

Farmers can use the sliders to identify bulls based on the areas they wish to improve in their herd.

Farmers can also select bulls from AI catalogues/teams and from ICBF Active Bull Lists. Bull codes can be manually entered on screen and added to the bull team, as per the original version of Sire advice.

When the Sexed Semen options are used, an updated Sire Advice PDF report will be available for download and print. Sexed females will be flagged on the pdf report and breeding chart with (S). See example below where Dairy Bull 1 is the “sexed semen option”. 

All matings generated through the Sire Advice application are designed to maximise genetic gain through balanced and optimum pairings. An inbreeding check is also completed as standard. When happy with the bull selection ensure to press “Send to Breeding Chart/AI Handheld”. Having your sire selections readily available on your technician’s handheld or the HerdPlus app will ensure quick and easy data recording during the breeding season.

If you require any assistance with running your 2023 Sire Advice, please contact the HerdPlus team on 023-8820452 and one of our customer service agents will talk you through  the process. If you would like to receive a Breeding Chart, please text the word CHART to 0894577663. We will begin printing and posting Breeding Charts from Tuesday 11th April.