Breeding is due to commence on Newford Farm on Wednesday 21 April and 100% AI will be used again in 2021.

The farm has recently finalised its sire selection for this season and details of sires selected can be found in Table 1.

A number of sires return to the team in 2021, with Fiston and Hideal used the most in 2020.

Selection criteria

There is no bias among breeds, with sires selected following an analysis of sires available carried out by Michael Fagan of Teagasc.

The criteria fed into the ICBF database to carry out this analysis is as follows:

  • Five-star terminal index (within and across).
  • <8% calving difficulty for strong mature cows (beef cow).
  • <5.8% calving difficulty for young cows (beef cow).
  • 70% reliability on the calving difficulty index.
  • 2.25 score on conformation.
  • <5.8% for first calvers (beef heifer), 80% reliability.
  • 35kg predicted carcase weight for mature cows.
  • 25kg predicted carcase weight for young cows and heifers.
  • Cost of straws less than €18.
  • The sires major on different traits and this will be used to match particular cows to particular sires to address any shortcomings and enhance the quality of progeny produced.

    AI programme

    As mentioned above, 100% AI is being used again in 2021.

    Two vasectomised stock bulls have been purchased and are undergoing a quarantine period. Each bull will run with a batch of 44 cows and bulls will also be fitted with a chin ball.

    All cows were also tail painted last week to monitor breeding activity. Heat detection was recorded for the last two weeks to monitor the level of activity.

    Farm manager Iarlaith Collins reports a positive level of activity, which should lay the foundations to repeat recent years of high submission rates in the first six weeks of the breeding season.

    Following a positive experience in the last two years, cows will be inseminated once a day at noon.

    If a cow is inseminated at noon and she is still displaying standing heat again that evening, that same cow will be inseminated again the next day (also at noon).