The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is to begin purchasing bulls for its new G€N€ IR€LAND maternal beef breeding programme in early 2013.
The new programme is aimed at identifying more young bulls with high maternal values, in an effort to improve the fertility of suckler dams.
"The €1,000 weanling is great but if you're only getting two of those weanlings every three years, herd fertility needs to be addressed," maintained Stephen Conroy of ICBF.
"We need to identify more maternal bulls in order to improve the national herd fertility."
Selecting bulls from all breeds, ICBF aimed to progeny test around one in every 100 bulls that sign up to the new programme. The bulls will be kept at the Tully bull testing station in Co Kildare for four years in order to generate enough information on the maternal traits they pass on to their daughters.
Semen collected from each bull will be distributed to farmers participating in the new programme.
Farmers interested in taking part will be 'vetted' by the ICBF, by way of a detailed assessment of their record keeping.
Suitable farmers must keep accurate and timely records of all animal events in order to be eligible for selection.
Successful farmers will be given beef breeding charts, performance reports, mating advice for their herds and have their animals assessed on farm by ICBF staff. Weight records and conformation assessments will be carried out on participating farms.
The herds will also be classified as 'G€N€ IR€LAND bull breeder herds', with the expectation that this will add a price premium to their animals.
Participating farmers will pay a fee of €250 annually for four years to take part in the programme.
Full details of the new G€N€ IR€LAND maternal programme are to be released at the Tully open day, which takes place this Saturday, November 10.
Up to 600 cattle breeders and producers are expected to visit the Co Kildare test centre between 10.30am and 2pm on Saturday.
The FBD-sponsored open day will include information points on €uroStar indices, G€N€ IR€LAND, weight recording, HerdPlus and progeny testing at Tully.
Nine heifers sired by bulls that excelled in the G€N€ IR€LAND maternal index will be on display on the day, including heifers by Seaview Tommy, Roundhill Doc and Castleview Casino.