According to Dr Siobhan Ring, ICBF, there is an opportunity to use both dairy and beef AI from the start of the breeding season as opposed to mopping up with beef AI at the end of the season.
In a video recently released by Teagasc, she stated how this is a change to the system but ultimately can lead to increased profitability.
She commented on how the number of replacements required by dairy herds has reduced due to an improvement in cow’s fertility and longevity or where farmers have achieved expansion targets.
Use both dairy and beef AI – sire selection
Siobhan outlined that in this scenario, farmers select the best cows (highest EBI) to breed with high-EBI dairy bulls and use beef bulls with the high dairy beef index on their problem cows/cows of poorer genetic merit.
“Irrespective of when the poorer genetic merit cows come bulling, you mate them to beef whether it is four-days or four-weeks into the breeding season.”
“This approach will increase the rate of genetic gain in the milking herd.”
“In addition, it will increase the number of high genetic merit beef calves born. Of course, beef breed calves born to high dairy beef index bulls can be easy calving, have a short gestation and, very importantly, have a high carcass merit.”
“This should result in more valuable calves and saleable calves, which are more saleable than the surplus dairy bull calves or beef calves from bulls that are of a poorer dairy beef index.”
She highlighted how no extra physical work is required for farmers to achieve a better beef calf.
“Just half an hour some evening sitting down to pick out the cows for the beef bulls and to pick the beef bulls to match them.”
“The Dairy Beef Index will identify the beef bulls that are easy calving, have a short gestation and also have high carcass attributes.”
She outlined in an established herd, with about 100-cows and 20 replacement heifers, you need about 50 dairy calves to comfortably get 20 replacement heifer calves into the milking parlour in two-years’ time.
“One round of AI in the replacement heifers and using 70 dairy AI straws on the cows should deliver the required number of dairy AI bred replacements heifers.”
“This allows for a conception rate of about 55%, so that means you have got 30-cows suitable for beef bulls with a high dairy-beef index,” Siobhan concluded.
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