BDGP stock bull requirements: Participants in BDGP who use a stock bull must have an eligible stock bull on the holding on 30 June 2022. To be eligible, the bull must be four or five stars on the replacement or terminal index within or across breed on its first genomic evaluation, or its genomic evaluation at the time of purchase. If the bull is replaced after 30 June, he must be replaced with an eligible bull.

If you have the tag number of the bull, the ICBF online animal search facility at will allow you look up the animal to see if it is genotyped or not. The bull needs to be genotyped by the next publication of results on 24 May to be eligible on 30 June 2022.

Breeding: Breeding has started on many early spring-calving farms around the country. Some farmers are using AI for a few weeks at the start to try and breed replacements and then using a terminal stock bull for the rest of the breeding season. If using AI, good heat detection is extremely important to get good conception rates.

Table 1 outlines the importance of conception and submission rate to high six week in-calf rates. Tail paint, vasectomised bulls and taking time to heat detect are all very important in achieving high conception rates. While best results will be achieved using the AM/PM rule (cows seen in heat in the morning are bred in the evening and cows in heat in the evening are bred in morning), some herds including the Tullamore Farm and Newford herd, are just inseminating cows once a day at midday and achieving good results.

Dairy sires: Some dairy calf-to-beef farmers are going to dairy farms with a proposal to use certain bulls and then agreeing to buy these calves back in spring 2023. A lot of dairy farmers currently make their beef sire choices around easy calving and short gestation, without paying any attention to carcase weight or conformation attributes.

Increased sex semen usage on dairy farms this spring/summer will likely see a lot more beef semen used on these farms. Is there potential to go to a neighbouring dairy farm with a list of sires to use? There are a number of bulls available that have good calving characteristics, along with good carcase traits. This could be a win-win arrangement where dairy calf-to-beef farmers get the calves they want and dairy farmers get an easy route to market for their calves next year.