A ‘Replacement Index’ class, sponsored by Munster AI, was held at Limerick show, on Sunday the 23rd of August. , it was the first show in Ireland to have such a class and with €1,000 prize fund it was a huge attraction.

The aim of the class was to demonstrate to people that high index cattle can look exceptionally well and also have exceptional performance figures.

Animals that were 4 or 5 star across breed in the new replacement index qualified for entry to this exciting new class. A total of 100 pedigree animals qualified on the day, this was 70% of all the pedigree animals on show. This clearly demonstrates that in the pedigree population there are plenty of bulls and dams of bulls capable of breeding high replacement index cattle that can win shows and look well for discerning buyers of stock.

30 cattle of all breeds entered the ring to be judged both on their visual appearance as well as their replacement index.  Mr. Seamus Lynch, the judge, examined each animal individually and placed the first 10 animals giving his reasons for doing so, then Rosalish Goulding added the replacement index value to the points Seamus had given each animal and the final ten were placed. Interestingly very little adjustment was made, all the prize winners were 5 star across breed.  One can only look forward with anticipation of what can be achieved when these breeders embrace the new index and go on to breed exceptional cattle with a high index.

The aim of the new genomic breeding scheme launched in 2015 that runs for 6 years, is to improve the profitability of the suckler herd by focussing on the cow. This index will result in a very balanced suckler cow that is docile, has plenty milk, is efficient and will deliver a good quality calf every 12 months. A requirement of the scheme is that herdowners need 20% of their females 4 or 5 stars in the replacement index by 2018 and 50% by 2020 to qualify.

The winner of the replacement class was owned by Dr Michael Sheahan a medical GP in Tipperary town, the benefits of breeding for the replacement index will certainly benefit this breeder. Michael was delighted with his winning heifer, Ellen Erica a September 2014 heifer sired by the AI sire Friarstown Ideal Pete. This heifer also took the junior reserve Angus championship judged by Shane McKiernan.

In second place was Tom Staunton’s shorthorn heifer, Carambra Rothes Hottie who later went on to be the overall shorthorn champion. Hottie from Kinvara with a replacement index of 121 and five star across breeds was described on the day as a ‘perfect specimen of the breed’.

1. Luddenmore Ellen Erica P225, (Repl Idx:€168) Michael Sheahan, Limerick

2. Caramba Rothes Hottie (RLW), (Repl Idx:€121) Tommy Staunton, Galway

3. Rockville Clohessy 315 (RO), (Repl Idx:€120) James Foley, Sligo

4. Ashtown Kate, (Repl Idx:€118), Michael Barron, Kilkenny

5. Tintrim Dixie (RO), (Repl Idx:€146), Marie McNamara, Clare

6. Glann Della (RLW) (P), (Repl Idx:€108), Michael Flatley, Mayo

7. Clonagh Flashy Rubystar, (Repl Idx:€154), Garreth Behan, Laois

8. Ardnaskea Groovy 2nd (RO), (Repl Idx:€150) Patrick Hehir, Clare

9. Jennalyn Fruity, (Repl Idx:€148) Garreth Behan, Laois

There is a real opportunity now for Irish breeders with their knowledge, stockmanship and ability to combine different matings, to embrace the genomic scheme and the power of the database to be world leaders in maternal genetics.

This class embraced the future of Irish cattle breeding in one ring, breeders old and young with commitment, knowledge and excellent stockmanship skills, the power of the database and genomics in the laptop, the keen eye of the judge and the commercial beef farmers outside the ring looking at how their enterprises can be more profitable.

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Seamus Lynch the judge with his final line up prior to the index being added. Seamus was the former manager of Clarecastle  AI station and secretary of Golden Vale.

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The winner of the class Luddenmore Ellen Erica P225 with John Paul McNulty and Rosalish Goulding from NCBC.

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The first and second prize winners being led off by John Paul McNulty and Tom Staunton