More than 100 farmers packed into Dungannon Rugby Club to hear Peter Kreuzhuber (Genetic Austria) speak on the history of the Fleckvieh breed and their spread across the world.
Peter explained that Genetic Austria are now selling semen and livestock to 70 countries. He continued that Austria has approximately 300,000 cows, the same as Northern Ireland but they have exported 30,000 in-calf heifers per year over the last five years.
Peter said the average Fleckvieh cow has four lactations in which time she produces two valuable bull calves worth €500 each, one in-calf heifer for export worth €1,800 and one heifer as a replacement. A typical Austrian farmer with 60 cows will sell 30 bull calves per year with a value of €500 each and 15 in-calf heifers worth €1,800 each and 15 cull cows worth €1,330 each with a total value over €60,000.
Peter said this €1,000 income per cow was vital in the current period of low milk prices.
Dr Fritz Fyuer then spoke about the linear set up of the breed. Fifty per cent of the linear assessment was based on fitness traits, 16% on Beef and the rest on fat, protein and milk.
He also gave details of Genomic testing of the next generation of bulls and their growing use in the population. He gave details of the first son of the Genomic Sire Evergreen who has a PLI of 141 +1220 Milk, very good fitness traits and fat and protein and a very high Udder score of 121. Certainly a bull for the future.
Jim Hamilton then gave an insight into the breeding programme at S.Q. Farm where 300 cows average 8,350, 4.15, 3.45. He spoke about the Bulls they have used in the past and current Sires they are using. Evergreen, Vollwert, Pandora etc. and where they hope to go in the future.
Eamon Donnelly, from Parkland Vets, gave a detailed account of S.Q. Farm’s fertility performance which he said was one of the best in the Practice. He said it was very important to scan every two – three weeks and retain all information on the computer. He also gave details of calving interval and the importance of getting a calf every year and the extra milk associated with this.
Eamon also said the general cow health of S.Q. Farm’s cows was very good.
Nutritionist David Hawkes gave details of the feeding regime at S.Q. Farm, where he emphasized how important it was to get the dry cow feeding regime right as this affected the next lactation milk yield. Total feed per cow was 2.6 tonnes with a total price of seven pence per litre for all feed purchased excluding silage. David said in general the Fleckvieh cow was a very efficient feed converter.
The same message was repeated to the large crowds at both Ballymoney and Ballynahinch.
The main points from all the speakers was that in the current climate of low milk prices, farmers must produce long-lasting cows that produce between 8,000 – 9,000 litres of quality milk, a valuable bull calve and a good cull cow value, with low vet bills.
The presentations from the talks will soon be available from the S.Q. Fleckvieh Genetic’s website www.fleckviehgenetics.com or for further details contact Jim Hamilton on 07590 444 732 or 028 8775 8898.