ICBF has revealed the 10 most popular dairy AI sires to be used by dairy farmers in 2022. Statistics show that the top four sires account for just over 14% of all dairy calves born last year.
The most popular Bull with an EBI of €246 was Umnagh Seville last year while the second most popular was Kilfeacle Pivitol with an EBI of €297.
ICBF figures show that 877,974 dairy calves were born on Irish farms last year, and 602,179 are registered for dairy AI sires, representing around 69pc of all dairy calves born in 2022.
However, almost a quarter (21pc) of registered calves had no sire registered, while 11pc were registered to a stockbull.
According to the ICBF, an increased use of sexed semen could be seen within AI-bred calves, as more than half (55pc) of them were female.
The ICBF states that while the level of sire recordings is increasing year on year, there is always room for improvement.
According to the ICBF, “being able to identify the father of an animal is important from the point of view of genetic evaluation” and “is one of the most important pieces of data that can be recorded on any animal.”
“Without a recorded sire, ICBF is unable to generate EBI information on an animal, as it is missing 50pc of backbreeding.
“By linking sire to calf, we can better track sire performance for the purpose of genetic evaluation,” it says.
The ICBF recommends that farmers running multiple stockbulls within a herd should consider genotyping their stockbulls and their calves as identifying the correct bull can be difficult, particularly if running stockbulls of the same breed.
It says genotyping will quickly match a calf to the correct sire via DNA and provide information to help the farmer make a decision.
Genotyping is especially important when it comes to considering female replacements, according to the ICBF, as knowing their EBI and verifying the parents helps the farmer make the most profitable decision.
It comes as the ICBF encourages farmers to join its Dairy Gene Ireland program which has been running for the past several years.
According to the ICBF, the program aims to test young bulls for AI companies, locate and select high EBI sires, and ensure an accelerated rate of genetic gain for Irish dairy herds.
Farmers who join the program get access to the latest genetics, and as soon as calves are born, AI companies will receive their details, including the average EBI of their progeny and parents.
To test the progeny of 70 young bulls, 35,000 doses of semen need to be used in a small number of ‘target’ herds.