Artificial Insemination (AI) rates are increasing within local suckler herds, according to AI Services’ breeding information specialist Ivan Minford.
“Trial work carried out by staff at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute has confirmed the benefit of using fixed-time on suckler cows and heifers,” he said.
“A lot of this work was carried out on commercial farms across Northern Ireland. Suckler herdowners are now aware of this and, as a consequence, are more predisposed to using the techniques involved.
“However, fixed time AI only works well if the management procedures employed are up to scratch and the procedures involved are strictly adhered to.”
Minford continued: “Using AI sires gives suckler herdowners the opportunity to use proven bulls, which can meet the specific replacement and general production needs of the herds involved.
“Buying-in replacement heifers brings with it the potential to import disease. The alternative of being in a position to breed one’s own replacements ensures that herdowners know the quality and complete history of the animals they are working with.”
Minford was speaking at the launch of the 2018 Ai Services’ Beef Catalogue.
“We have invested in a number of new and exciting beef sires over the past 12 months, all of which are now standing at our Ballycraigy stud. Most of the bulls have been purchased from local breeders. Thus is further endorsement of the standards being achieved by pedigree beef producers here in Northern Ireland.”
Where Aberdeen Angus is concerned, Minford highlighted the inclusion of two new sires in the 2018 catalogue.
Woodvale Network, bred by Co Down-based Alwyn Armour, is a particularly easy calving sire. He was a first- place prize winner at the 2017 Aberdeen Angus sale in Dungannon. The bull has above average figures for 200 and 400-day growth.
Ivan Minford again: “We were in a position to get a significant number of Network straws out on farm last year. As a result, a large selection of his calves will be on the ground over the coming months. Our plan is to get a calving survey carried out during this period.
“The second new Aberdeen Angus bull is Rawburn Jumbo Eric. Bred in Scotland, he was sired by Netherellan Peter Pershore, making him a half-brother to Thrunton Rocket.
“A trial carried out by ICBF in the Republic of Ireland last year confirmed Rocket as the top kill-out bull amongst the grouping of Aberdeen Angus cattle selected for this work.
“As a consequence, Eric will deliver tremendous carcasse quality. He is among the top 1% of the breed for 400 and 600-day weight gain. We will be recommending him for use on suckler cows only.”
Turning to the Hereford breed, Minford confirmed that the 2018 catalogue features one new sire.
“Solpoll 1Pounder was bred by the McMordie family in Co Down. He was sired by their renowned stock bull Panmure 1 Henry.
“Pounder is a new and exciting Hereford sire. He has excellent conformation and muscling. The bull is in the top 1% and 5% of the breed for all growth and muscling indices.”
Springhill King Kong is a new British Blue sire to feature in the 2018 catalogue. Bred by James Martin from Newtownards, he was successfully shown in 2017. The bull has excellent conformation and muscling.
Other new bulls to look out for in the new Beef Sires catalogue include the Simmental bull Omorga Isaac, from the Co Tyrone herd of John Moore. The sire displays tremendous style, conformation and muscling.
Carmorn Marty is an exciting new Limousin bull from the Toomebridge herd of Francis McAuley. Sired by Mullary Intrepid, he brings a unique combination of muscle development and calving ease.
Minford continued: “The new Beef Bull catalogue can be downloaded from the Ai Services’ web site. Printed copies are also available from the company’s technician team.”
For further information, telephone (028) 90833123 or visit the Ai Services’ web site: www. Ai-services.co.uk