The Dairy Beef Index (DBI) is a breeding goal for Irish dairy and beef farmers to promote high quality beef cattle bred from the dairy herd that are more saleable as calves and profitable at slaughter yet, they have minimal consequences on the calving difficulty or gestation length of the dairy cow.

727,018 dairy beef calves (beef sire x dairy dam) were born on Irish farms in 2022. Of these, 176,284 were registered to beef AI sires. This represents approximately 24% of all beef calves born in the period. The use of beef AI on dairy cows has been gradually increasing year on year. 33% of the calves were registered to a Stockbull.

Approximately 43% of dairy beef calves born in 2022 had no sire recorded. Without a recorded sire, ICBF is unable to generate EBI, €uro-Star or DBI information on an animal, as it is missing 50% of the back breeding. By linking the sire to the calf, we can better track the performance of the sire for the purpose of genetic evaluations.

Below is a list of the 10 most popular beef AI sires recorded on dairy x beef calves born in 2022.

Top 10 most popular beef AI sires recorded on dairy beef calves born in 2022

The list of the top 50 most popular beef AI sires recorded on dairy beef calves in 2022  is made up of 8 different breeds with Angus and Hereford making up 78% of the top 50 bulls. The list includes 19 Angus, 15 Hereford, 6 Belgian Blue, 4 Limousin, 2 Simmental, 2 Speckled Park, 1 Charolais and 1 Aubrac.

Who Should Use the Dairy Beef Index?

  • Dairy farmers that use beef bulls, and
  • Beef breeders that target the dairy-beef market for bull sales

Dairy Beef Gene Ireland 2023

The use of beef AI on the dairy herd continues to grow significantly. Dairy farmers are encouraged to participate in the Dairy Beef Gene Ireland programme for 2023.

The objectives of the programme are to ensure more accurate genetic evaluations for beef traits related to the dairy herd, most notably calving difficulty (%), gestation length and calf quality and to help AI partners & pedigree breeders to identify new beef bloodlines that will be suitable for the dairy herd. AI companies provide the progeny test bulls for the programme and they are distributed to herds within the programne.

The key points from the programme include:

  • Straws will be charged at €7/straw delivered to your technician.
  • The packs will be chosen by the farmer and may be mixed breeds or single breed.
  • It is not recommended to use G€N€ IR€LAND bulls on maiden heifers.
  • The breeds currently available are Angus, Belgian Blue, Charolais, Hereford and Limousin.
  • Additional breeds may be added to the panel during the year


If you are interested in participating in the Gene Ireland Dairy Beef programme 2023, or have any questions in relation to the programme, please contact ICBF on 045 521573 or email [email protected]

Advice for Dairy Farmers

  • Maximise the genetic potential of your dairy herd by breeding your best stock to dairy AI.
  • Generally, heifers are the most genetically elite animals in a herd; therefore, to maximise the genetic potential of their progeny, use dairy AI, not a beef bull.
  • Poorer, ‘problem’ cows, of higher SCC, that calve late, or are of lower EBI should be considered for beef matings, irrespective of whether they are bred in the 1st week or 8th week of the breeding season.

The most recent evaluation published by ICBF on 24th January 2023 saw a suite of updates incorporated into the Dairy Beef Index (DBI).

These changes are a continuation of updates that were made to the EBI in November 2022. Changes to the DBI broadly include the addition of a NEW Carbon Sub-Index and the Beef Sub-Index has been developed further. The updated relative emphasis can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Updated Relative Emphasis of the Dairy Beef Index (DBI). January 2023.

Fore more information on the changes see Updates to the Dairy Beef Index (DBI) – ICBF