The 2021 breeding season has shaped up to be a promising one for dairy AI technicians, systems manager for Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) Ireland John Tobin has told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“This year saw a huge demand for sexed semen, with LIC sold out of sexed straws from early February. This is despite taking an extra 6,000 sexed straws on stream this year,” Tobin said.
“We are ramping up the supply of sexed straws from New Zealand, with plans to collect from the bulls on our sexed programme for an extra two months before next year’s breeding season.
“Jersey usage has increased for both sexed and conventional straws. A clear preference for sexed straws has emerged where farmers have the choice. Had there been more sexed straws in stock, they would have sold,” Tobin continued.
Confidence in implementing crossbreeding programmes for dairy herds has been strengthened by data emerging from the breed comparison and system trials of the Teagasc Moorepark Next Generation herd, stated Tobin.
The real possibility of future milk processing limitations may also push coloured bulls on to more teams, as farmers are likely to target higher solid percentages in cases where output volume restrictions are imposed.
Tobin explained that customers have continued to seek high-reliability daughter proven sires from LIC over opting purely for genomic bulls.
“The risk incurred, even though there are benefits, can lead some farmers to be cautious in their use of younger bulls,” he said.
“It can be frustrating for farmers to hear the genetic worth of next year’s calves down after the release of a fresh round of genetic valuations.
“Farmers’ reaction to a bull’s daughters going through the parlour can have a large bearing on opinion when choosing bull teams,” he finished.