3 easy-calving bulls to use on suckler heifers this breeding season
Easy-calving maternal bulls for heifers were the focus of part of John Lynch’s presentation during a webinar that Teagasc Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal held last week.
During the virtual session, the AI firm’s beef programme manager suggested three maternal bulls for farmers to consider this breeding season:
- Ewdenvale Ivor (LM2014 – Limousin bull):
- Elderberry Galahad (EBY – Limousin bull);
- Hawkley Red Zeppelin (ZEP – Red Angus).
Ivor: Limousin bull
His first recommendation, Ivor, who carries two copies of the ‘profit gene’, has a terminal index of €158 and a replacement index of €182.
Lynch explained: “When you talk about a ‘heifer’ bull, you want one with a lot of reliability behind him. Ivor is extremely easy-calving; 2.5% calving difficulty on beef cows and 6% calving difficulty on beef heifers. Furthermore, he has almost 5,000 records on heifers.”
“One thing that I would say with Ivor, from my experience, is that they are very disappointing calves when they are born.”
“So, you could go checking for a second one, but they develop unbelievably. He is breeding super quality [progeny], and yet, he is so so easy calving. I would recommend using him on a muscly-type heifer.”
In summary, he said this sire will “tick all the boxes for any scheme that comes in” with a high terminal index, a high replacement value and carcass weight.
Easy-calving bulls: EBY
Lynch described his second choice, the Limousin bull EBY, as “a living legend”.
He claims that he is “undoubtedly the most renowned Limousin sire ever” for quality and easy calving.
Like LM2014, the 2011-born bull caries two carries of the ‘profit gene’, has a replacement index of €111 and a terminal index of €117.
This bull is 3.1% calving difficulty on beef cows and 6.9% calving difficulty on beef heifers, with almost 15,000 records on heifers.
Lynch confirmed that Dovea Genetics has a small quantity of sexed female semen available.
Furthermore, he reported that the firm is experiencing international demand, particularly in the UK, for EBY semen for use on heifers.
“He is still living; there is plenty of semen there. Every day is a bonus with this bull. He is a super bull for heifers. I would recommend using him on a plainer-type heifer.”
“A bull like this that is renowned for easy calving will be used on better and better heifers. Therefore, his calving difficulty is going to creep up a little,” John added.
Red Angus bull: ZEP
Lynch then suggested Hawkley Red Zeppelin (ZEP), a Red Angus, as a possible easy-calving sire for breeding females.
He described him as “an extremely safe option”, with a rating of 0.8% calving difficulty on beef cows and 3.2% calving difficulty on beef heifers.
He said: “You could possibly use this bull on something that you are worried about calving. He is producing good cattle, and his daughters are excellent milkers.”
“If you have good Angus cattle to make now, they are making €2.60-€2.70/kg; it is not like seven or eight years ago, where if you went to a commercial ring with an Angus beef-bred weanling, you would get €2.00/kg.”
“I think they are becoming a valuable commodity, particularly ones clicking all the boxes. We have quite a number of suckler farmers using this bull. All are delighted and back using him again on heifers,” Lynch concluded.
In the next part of this article, we will focus on Dovea Genetics’ offering of terminal sires this spring 2022.