LIC (Livestock Improvement Corporation) Ireland reported record growth in conventional, sexed semen and new test bulls, with an increase of 30% nationally, during breeding 2021.
Systems manager for LIC Ireland, John Tobin, told That’s Farming that a combination of improved bulls on offer and sexing best bulls has been “well-received”.
Tobin commented on the growth in sexed semen sales in 2021.
“Every year, farmer’s confidence in sexed semen is growing, meaning more usage the following year,” he remarked.
“We are seeing that farmers are more willing to use sexed semen if the best bulls are sexed, which is driving demand for us.”
“Having the right bull sexed is crucial for both on-farm uptake, and the progression of the national herd and the role industry has to play in this.”
“Farmers want the best bulls sexed, and we have led the way by sexing our best bulls such as Gallivant, Backdrop and Sierra.”
“Our customers see the value in having fertile cows producing a high amount of solids from fewer litres meaning the farm is then achieving a better milk price and overall fertility. For them, LIC plays a role in achieving this goal.”
He also highlighted an increase in the usage of Jersey genetics among its growing customer base.
”Moorepark Next Gen trials, are boosting farmers confidence in the Jersey breeds.”
“We have seen a significant increase in Jersey and crossbred usage across the country, both in conventional and sexed.”
Tobin also listed some of the company’s top sellers this year.
“Top bulls this year, Okura Integrity (OKT) remained popular with farmers, with this being the last year he will be available.”
“Glen Koru Proclaimer-ET is new to Irish farmers. Him and Arkan MGH Backdrop-ET S2F were popular with farmers. Our Irish-born LIC bulls, TheForwards, were also popular and massively increased uptake.
Tobin highlighted that farmers’ attention now turns to scanning.
“Early aged pregnancy test results give you more detailed information for your herd reproduction reports, so you can accurately assess your herd’s reproduction performance.”
“Herd reproduction reports need a high percentage of cows to have an early aged results.”
“To get early aged pregnancy test results, cows must be scanned between 35 and 122 days of pregnancy (5 to 17 weeks).”
“Depending on your mating length, you may need to do more than one round of pregnancy testing to get early aged results for your whole herd.”
He said best practice is to scan cows between 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy – if you mate for more than 11 weeks.
He recommends that you undertake at least two rounds of pregnancy testing as follows:
- 1st scan (12 to 14 weeks after mating start date): To ensure that cows that got pregnant in the first 6 weeks of mating will have early aged results;
- 2nd scan (at least 42 days after the end of mating)
Background info on John:
John Tobin, a Kilkenny native, focuses on managing LIC’s Irish bull breeding programme.
He is also responsible for delivering LIC’s strategy in Ireland. It aims to add value to farmers looking to improve the sustainability of their businesses.
He joined the New Zealand farmer-owned herd improvement company in 2019, after returning home to Ireland, having worked for LIC in New Zealand previously.
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