Angela & Gerard Brickley, Coolrain, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

Gerard and Angela Brickley pictured with their 5 star cow Celtic Betty ET

Backround of the herd: The herd goes back to 8 heifers imported from Austria in 1975 by Tom Brickley, Gerard’s father, to found the Anatrim Herd.  Further imports have taken place over the years to ensure adequate milk and new traits such as Polled have being introduced. The Celtic herd has now been built up to 52 calving, which starts on 1st December.  The aim is to tighten calving into a 3 month period.  Embryo transfer is extensively used, with 40% of calves born by ET this past season.

Maternal Breeding: The herd has an overall maternal rating of €126.The young-stock in the herd has maternal ratings of €134 for the ‘over 12 months’ category and €129 for the ‘0-12 months’ category.

Top Maternal Cows:  One of the top breeding females in the herd is Celtic Betty ET (in photo) (sire: Curaheen Tyson – TSO). She is a 5 star maternal cow with an index of €197 (Reliability: 29%).

Key traits of interest: The breeding focus is on maternal traits – milk, calving ability, docility, good feet and legs, as well as shape and growth rate. Mid-sized cows are preferred.  Over 40% of the breeding females in the herd are now polled, as is one of the stock bulls.

Recent Sires used: AI is extensively used.  Angela does much of this herself.  Angela and Gerard also run a small specialist Semen business, with 8 Simmental bulls now available, including a number of the top ICBF rated Maternal bulls.  Over the last few years semen has been exported to breeders in all main EU countries, including back to the home of the breed – Austria, Switzerland and Germany.  2 stock bulls have been used this year, both of which are also AI bulls (AYX and XDM).

Breeder’s comment: “I think the new ICBF Data Quality Stamp is very important.  It’s great to see some mechanism that independently verifies that these breeders are doing everything as they say they are.  AI dates, birth dates, weights, are checked, and this will increase the reliability of ICBF’S Euro-Star indexes over time, and helps highlight breeders who are doing things right and have no problem with independent checks to prove it.”