Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Stock bulls sire 50pc of pedigree progeny

Aubrac also recorded similar levels of stock bull useage. Stock photo
Aubrac also recorded similar levels of stock bull useage. Stock photo

Martin Ryan

Despite the increasing use of AI in pedigree breeding herds, the use of stock bulls continues to strongly underpin the sales' trade for breeders of young bulls.

Almost one in every two of the calves born to pedigree dams continue to be sired by stock bulls, although there has been a slight decline in the overall average for the most prominent breeds.

Statistics for 2015 births showed a six point drop in the progeny of stock bulls at 45pc compared to 54pc for 2014 which underpins the demand for stock bulls by pedigree breeders as well as the commercial suckler farmers.

For most breeds the ratio of stock bulls to AI remained constant or slightly changed from the previous year. Most noteable was the increase in the use of stock bulls in Blonde d'Aquitaine herds, with more than three in every four Blonde's born in 2015 being bred from a stock bull.

Piedemontese and Aubrac also recorded similar levels of stock bull useage, although showing less change in the pattern from the previous year.

The lowest percentage stock bull useage was recorded in Charolais and Simmental herds, at an average of one in three of the calves born being sired by a stock bull and only recording minor changes from the previous year.

Hereford has moved from more than two in every three calved being bred to a stock bull, closer to one in every two after a decline of 9 points in stock bull use, the largest reduction for any breed.

On the scale, Piedemontese retains its position as the breed with the highest percentage of the calves sired by the stock bull at 80pc, down 4pc on the previous year. It is followed by Blonde D'Aquitaine at 78 pc after an increase from 67pc the previous year, and Aubrac at 74pc, after increasing by from 70pc.

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Angus remained static at two in every three calves the product of a stock bull at 64pc overall for the breed, and similar useage within Salers, down one point at 64pc, with Shorthorn also down one point at 59pc.

At the other end of the scale, Charolais increased one point to 33pc, and Simmental also gained one point to 36pc, while Limousin gained three points to 36pc.

On the overall births for 2015, three breeds between them shared almost equally 71pc of the total births registered with 26,731 of the overall 37,283.

Limousin remained slightly the most popular for pedigree beef breed calves born at 9,046, marginally ahead of Angus at 9,010 and Charolais at 8,675.

In fourth place was Hereford at 4,186, with Simmental fifth (2,524) and followed by Shorthorn (1,174), while the other breeds each recorded less than 1,000 births during the year.

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