Sign in to your account
Forgot / Reset Password? Click here
Not registered with Farmers Journal? Register now to read 10 Journal+ articles for FREE
Or

To redeem your unique loyalty code from the print edition click HERE
Just one final step...
You must confirm your email address by clicking on the link we’ve sent to your email address.
You are only one short step away from reading...
Room to improve performance of NI suckler herd
Register below to read ten Journal+ articles
for free per month.
Or to redeem your unique loyalty code
from the print edition click HERE
Only takes a second!
Already registered with Farmers Journal? Sign in
By registering an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
code

Room to improve performance of NI suckler herd

By on
AgriSearch held an event focusing mainly on the use of synchronisation and AI in suckler herds on the farm of Artie Birt near Portaferry on Thursday.
AgriSearch held an event focusing mainly on the use of synchronisation and AI in suckler herds on the farm of Artie Birt near Portaferry on Thursday.

Reducing both the average calving interval and age of first calving in the Northern Ireland suckler herd will increase the amount of time that cows and replacement heifers are in production.

Visitors to Artie Birt’s farm near Portaferry, Co Down, on Thursday were told that the average age of first calving and average calving interval in the NI suckler herd is 30.6 months and 420 days respectively.

“A suckler cow has got to go in calf to produce a calf every year or else go out of the system. Farmers should be aiming to calve down heifers at 24 months,” Dr Francis Lively from AFBI said.

He said that calving heifers down at 24 months required good management from weaning to calving and that replacement heifers should be treated as priority stock on farms.

“Some farmers question if the extra feeding or access to best quality silage is worth it to achieve growth targets for calving at two-year-old, but look at the additional cost of running heifers for an extra six or 12 months if you calve later,” Lively said.

Thursday’s event on Artie's farm was held by AgriSearch to demonstrate how synchronisation and artificial insemination can be used on suckler farms to improve and specifically target genetics through the use of AI bulls while reducing the labour input surrounding observing heats.

Artie runs a herd of 170 mainly Simmental and Limousin cross cows, with Charolais bulls mostly used on cows and easy-calving Simmental and Limousin bulls used on heifers. He has been involved in a research project undertaken by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute looking at the use of synchronisation and AI across 12 suckler herds in NI.

Full coverage of the event and up-to-date results from the project will feature in next week’s edition of the Irish Farmers Journal and on www.farmersjournal.ie.

Read more

Powering ahead with AI breeding

Role for AI on most suckler farms

Related tags
Related Stories
Journal+
News in brief from Northern Ireland
Journal+
Herd pofile: Moydrum Angus
Liability Cover for Drones used for Agri/ Forestry / Surveying /Coastal work www...