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April dairy inseminations – 80% to GS bulls
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Advertiser's announcement:
April dairy inseminations – 80% to GS bulls

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Over 80% of the dairy inseminations during the month of April were to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls.
Over 80% of the dairy inseminations during the month of April were to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls.

These results confirm that despite some initial concern regarding the re-adjustment 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 farm in the future.

The results are based on analysis of insemination data from 380 AI technicians linked to the ICBF database, through their AI handheld system. A total of 148,223 inseminations were included in the analysis (Table 1).

GS bulls clearly ahead on EBI

A closer look at data from Table 1 clearly indicates the key reason for the continued use of the young GS bulls. On average the GS bulls were €85 ahead of the Daughter Proven Ireland bulls (DP-IRL) and €100 ahead of the Daughter Proven International bulls (DP-INT), with the latter two categories then making up 14% and 5% of the total inseminations respectively. The final category of bull’s were those with just a parent average proof (PA), with this category making up just 1% of the total inseminations during the period.

GS bulls less than three years old

Another interesting aspect of the analysis from Table 1 is that the GS bulls were on average just 2.5 years of age, which was almost five years younger than the DP International bulls and a further one year younger than the DP Irish bulls. This is despite having similar data reliability values to the DP International bulls and being only 28 % points behind the DP Irish bulls. Again this analysis confirms the benefits of genomics in being able to predict genetic merit at a much younger age compared to the scenario that existed only a few years ago, where herd owners had to wait until a bull was fully daughter proven before they could have enough confidence to use him on their herd.

Only 57% of inseminations from Active Bull list sires

Perhaps the one slightly disappointing aspect of the analysis presented in Table 1 is the fact that only 57% of the dairy inseminations included in the analysis, came from sires that are currently on the ICBF Active Bull List (March 2107). Looking more closely at this data (results not shown) indicates that the majority of these inseminations are coming from young GS bulls born in 2015 which are not yet on the Active Bull List due insufficient data reliability for calving difficulty. This is an interesting observation and raises certain questions about the relevance of the ICBF Active Bull List, if certain categories of high interest bulls are still being excluded from the listing.

Close agreement with results from ICBF sire advice

The results presented in Table 1 are also in very close agreement with those taken from the recent ICBF Sire Advice Analysis which had indicated a figure of 78% for the expected usage of GS bulls this Spring amongst ICBF Sire Advice users. These results were based on 2,112 herds that had completed ICBF Sire Advice during the six-week period from 1 February to 25 April.

Table 1. Summary of dairy inseminations completed during April, for technicians on AI handhelds linked to the ICBF database.


Proof categoryNumber AI sires
Grand Total850


Count insems% Total

Average Age

Approaching peak AI day

Peak AI day is now fast approaching with the number of inseminations on dairy cows now hitting almost 14,000 inseminations. These results are based on data from some 380 AI technicians linked to the ICBF database, through their AI handheld system. With the majority of herd-owners only starting AI this week, especially those in the Northern parts of the country, peak AI day is expected to happen in the next few days, with a final figure of close to 16,000 inseminations/day expected to be met in the next few days. We will keep you posted on this final figure.

FARMER FOCUS: Kevin Twomey, Ballyhooly, Co Cork

Using all young GS bulls this Spring

Cows & heifers

We are milking 280 cows with an additional 90 replacement heifers for breeding this Spring. Cows are currently yielding 24.0 litres, with 4.30% BF and 3.69% protein. Average EBI of the herd is €131.

GS or DP bulls and why?

We have been using the young GS bulls on the farm for a number of years now and we are really happy with how they are performing. Also, as a team of bulls, they have all that we are looking for in terms of good milk solids and fertility. One additional requirement that we look to apply on the farm is that the majority of the team have some calving data, as difficult calvings are something that we want to avoid.

Bulls used this Spring:

8 AI bulls selected. Main bulls are Candy (FR2385), Cardiff (FR2339) and Franko (FR4154). Average weighted EBI of the bull team from ICBF Sire Advice is €278.

Breeding Program plan:

I’ve started AI last Friday. We started the heifers a week earlier this year. They are on a P6/PG synchronisation program and we have just achieved 97% submission rate in 11 days, which is excellent. We plan to use one round AI on them, then sweeper bulls. In terms of the cows, we plan to breed dairy AI for 5 weeks, then 3 weeks beef AI and then a team of sweeper bulls for a further 4 weeks.

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