Teagasc's 'Next Generation' deliver the goods
Teagasc's Next Generation herd, which comprises of 90 elite Holstein Friesian heifers with an average EBI of 231, has already started to prove the benefits of selecting for high EBI stock.
The Moorepark-based herd is comparing the performance of high EBI heifers against 45 heifers with an EBI score closer to the national average of 121.
Most of the difference in EBI scores is accounted for by the 80-point gap between the two groups' fertility sub-indexes.
This is reflected in the fact that 75pc of the high EBI heifers bred during the first five weeks scanned in-calf, compared to less than 60pc of the low EBI heifers.
In contrast, there was hardly any difference in total milk production and milk solids output during the 19 weeks of milk supply. Total milk solids was just 7kg higher for the high genetic merit group.
"We'll see the gap in milk solids between the two group really open up during the second half of the season," said herd manager, Aidan Brennan.
"But the high EBI animals have already proved their worth on the basis of their fertility. If these differences continue, it is likely that the number of empty cows from the average EBI group will be three times the number from the high EBI group by the end of the season," he added.