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78% of AI Straws are to young GS Bulls
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Advertiser's announcement:
78% of AI Straws are to young GS Bulls

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Almost 78% of the AI straws allocated by farmers through the ICBF Sire Advice Program have been to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls (Table 1).
Almost 78% of the AI straws allocated by farmers through the ICBF Sire Advice Program have been to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls (Table 1).

This analysis is based on some 2,112 dairy herds that have completed their ICBF Sire Advice allocations since 1st February 2017.

In overall terms, the analysis represents over 300,000 AI straws allocated, with 77.4% of these to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls, 15.1% of these to Daughter Proven (DP) bulls and just 7.4% to foreign AI bulls.

These results confirm that despite some initial concern regarding the re-adjustment backwards of proofs for the young GS sires (by on average €39 compared to the March 2017 evaluation), farmers continue to have confidence in the young GS bulls to deliver more profitability on their farms in the future.

No Downward Trend.

Furthermore, analysis of weekly trends from the data in Table 1, indicates no downward trend in the usage of these young GS sires, with 78.7% of the straws allocated in the last 7 days being to the young GS bulls (across some 275 herds in total). This compares with 73.2% of the straws allocated to young GS sires (from 276 herds) during the month of February (i.e., for Sire Advice Runs completed more than 28 days ago). Again these results confirm that despite some initial concerns being expressed by farmers and industry about the GS proof adjustments, they continue to have confidence in using these bulls on their farms.

Daughter Proven for Female Fertility.

For the above analysis (Table 1), Daughter Proven bulls were defined as bull that had met 70% reliability for milk proofs, which is considered the minimum requirement to be considered daughter proven. If we were to only consider bulls that were truly daughter proven (i.e., greater than 90% reliability for female fertility proofs), then the number of straws allocated to Daughter Proven bulls would be just 4250 straws, or 1.4% of the total straws allocated. So it is clear that farmers are not choosing to stick with old proven bulls when making their sire choices.

Why the high usage of GS bulls?

The high usage of the GS bulls is clearly linked to the average EBI of these bulls, compared to the Daughter Proven or Foreign bull options. Indeed, recent results presented by ICBF and Teagasc have indicated that the young GS bulls are on average €43 ahead of the Daughter Proven bulls (for bulls with an EBI reliability of 70% or greater) and €88 ahead of the Daughter Proven bulls (for bulls with an EBI reliability of 90% or greater).

Similar results are apparent for the foreign bulls, confirming that dairy farmers are selecting first and foremost on EBI, when making the breeding decisions on their farms.

These young high EBI GS bulls should then be used in teams, with the strong advice being to use a minimum of 7 sires with no more than 20% of the total inseminations to any one bull.

Table 1. Overview of AI straws allocated by farmers using ICBF Sire Advice Program.

Sire Advice Details
Final Sire Advice RunHerds
More than 28 days ago276
Last 22 to 28 days703
Last 15 to 21 days476
Last 8 to 14 days382
Last 7 days275

Number of AI straws allocated to:
Young (GS) bullsDaughter Proven Foreign

AI Straws% to GS

What is ICBF Sire Advice?

This analysis is based on 2,112 herds that have run the ICBF Sire Advice Program for their herd. So what is ICBF Sire Advice and how can I run it for my herd? Sire advice is an application that is available to all dairy HerdPlus users. The application allows you to select the bulls you wish to use for the breeding season and then the program matches these bulls to the most suitable cows on your farm. It does this by taking account of any potential inbreeding in the resultant calves, and also by balancing up sires and cows for key traits of interest. Once saved, the suggested matings are available from various reports that can be accessed directly from your HerdPlus account.

To access the Sire Advice application simply click on ‘Applications’ from the HerdPlus menu. Then select ‘Sire Advice’. If you need any help, then please contact ICBF HerdPlus on 023-8820452.

FARMER FOCUS: Richard Starrett, Co. Donegal.

Using all young GS bulls this Spring

Cows & heifers

Milking 170 cows with additional 25 replacement heifers for breeding this Spring. Cows are currently yielding 28.5 litres, with 4.25% BF and 3.69% Protein. Average EBI of the herd is €130.

GS or DP bulls and why?

I’ve been using the teams of GS bulls for the past number of years and they have been working very well on my farm. Plus the Teagasc and ICBF advice is to use teams of high EBI GS bulls, so I’m sticking with that advice as it has served me well.

Bulls used this Spring:

8 AI bulls selected. Main bulls are Pamela (SEW), Candy (FR2385) and Maestro (FR2053). Average weighted EBI of bull team from ICBF Sire Advice is €266.

Breeding Program plan:

I’m starting AI on 7 May. I’m using DIY AI on the farm, plus I’ve just installed a Moo Monitor system with automatic drafting, to make things a bit easier. I plan to have half the herd in calf to black and white bulls, with the remainder then to easy calving Hereford bulls. Plan is to have the dairy AI (about 180 straws) wrapped up in the first 6 weeks, then finish out with Hereford AI. I’ve a young family on the farm now so have decided to move to 100% AI in the future.

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