Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Calls for reopening of Munster AI centre

Major investment also sought in wake of NCBC outbreak

Darragh McCullough and Declan O'Brien

THE reopening of the former Munster AI facility in Mallow and a major overhaul of management protocols has been sought in the wake of the IBR outbreak at the National Cattle Breeding Centre (NCBC) in Enfield, Co Meath.

While sources within Munster AI said they aimed to retain the business scale which was offered by NCBC, some in the organisation have called for a second breeding centre to be redeveloped in Mallow.

A major capital investment programme for Enfield and Mallow, which would help improve bio-security, has also been touted.

One source, who did not wish to be named, described the Enfield facility as a "low-cost system".

The fact that 65 bulls were being kept in one hall and air space could never be allowed to happen again, the AI specialist said.

"The maximum number of bulls in any hall will have to be 15, but for those sorts of facilities to be put in place money must be spent," he insisted.


He said this could be done most effectively in the short term by reopening the facility in Mallow to take a certain proportion of the bulls.

Also Read

Another senior source close to Munster AI said that "while the accommodation of breeding stock to minimise the risk of mishaps will be considered, no decision will be taken until the full review by NCBC has been completed".

The genomic testing programme is now being beefed up to source a minimum of 1,000 bull and 500 heifer calves this year.

"This would mean that we'd be back on track almost straight away," he said.

NCBC has renewed its calls for all farmers with elite EBI stock to contact them about getting their animals tested. The best 200 will be purchased by the centre.

Meanwhile, only two of the original 65 top bulls that were housed at the Enfield stud have remained negative for IBR.

Testing is on-going, with the full extent of the outbreak unknown until the end of the week, according to NCBC chief executive Bernard Eivers.

With supplies of the number one and two bulls, SOK and KOZ, back by up to 40pc, NCBC have been forced to restrict the quantities of straws allocated to each area.

Farmers seeking to buy their own supplies of these bulls have been advised to place their orders within the next number of weeks before the available stocks run out.

Despite the fact that orders for these bulls were already said to be "flying in", NCBC were keen to stress that a portion of their stocks would be reserved for their AI technicians throughout the spring.

They are also increasing their orders for imported semen from partner AI companies in Holland and New Zealand.

Indo Farming