Business Farming

Sunday 25 September 2016

'Huge scope' to improve suckler herd genomics

Published 13/07/2016 | 02:30

Breeding expert Donagh Berry talks to a group of farmers at a Teagasc beef open day.
Breeding expert Donagh Berry talks to a group of farmers at a Teagasc beef open day.

With star ratings on the minds of farmers at Beef 2016, Teagasc genetics expert Donagh Berry said there is "huge scope" for improvement in the suckler herd.

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"If you look at the statistics that are out there from a fertility and survival perspective and from the output of the cow," he said. "A statistic that is often used is .79 calves per cow per year."

He said there was an excellent database in ICBF, good data recording despite some issues and there was genomics detailing parentage and pedigree.

"If you look at the dairying, the dairy breeding has been worth €631m since its introduction in the year 2001," he said. "So if we can get the same from the beef perspective it will have huge implications." He said dairying experienced the same concerns 15 years, while now the vast majority now say the EBI indexes are the way forward.

"The genomics is 23pc more accurate than the older system, so much so 70pc of the semen sold last year in dairying was genomic."

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