Continentals losing out to traditional beef breeds
The proportion of continental animals in the national cattle herd is set to decline further according to the country's biggest bull studs.
Demand for large continental breeds such as Belgian Blue and Charolais continue to decline as both beef and dairy farmers gravitate towards the early maturing beef breeds such as Angus and Hereford.
Sales of beef sires for use on the dairy herd is up again, especially in the southern half of the country.
"We saw a 15pc increase in the number of beef straws being used, with Angus, Hereford and Limousin all up by at least 25pc on last year," said Munster AI's Terry Dillon.
Ease of calving and shorter gestations typical of the smaller beef breeds are the big factors for dairy farmers focused on minimising the calving interval.
"The difference between a Limousin and an Angus could be nearly two weeks.
"That's a big difference for a bull being used at the end of the breeding season," said Progressive Genetic's marketing manager, Laurence Feeney.
He estimates that beef straw sales in the northern half of the country were up by nearly 5pc compared to dairy sires, with overall volumes up by 10pc in line with the 120,000 head increase in the dairy herd.