Why the Newford Farm herd has got rid of its two stock bulls
The Newford Farm in Galway sold its two stock bulls in 2017 and moved to 100pc AI, because it had a very successful experience with AI, a recent document from Teagasc states.
Mathew Murphy, Farm Manager at Newford, said that it was difficult to justify the cost of keeping two stock bulls, when they mated only about a dozen cows in the 100-cow herd in the period following six weeks of AI to the end of the breeding season to 10 or 11 weeks.
Some 91 of the 100 cows put forward for breeding scanned in calf. Scanning showed that 60 cows held to first service, with 90pc of the herd submitted for AI in the first three weeks of the breeding season. Second service carried 20 cows over the line, while 11 cows held to third service.
After a seven-week breeding season, 20 of the 25 heifers scanned in-calf. Setting the farm up for another compact calving season, with over 80 cows due to calve in the first three to four weeks of calving in 2019.
In the most recent update from the farm, Matthew lists six key criteria as contributing to the success on Newford Farm to date.
He says that artificial insemination allows access to a wider pool of genetics, but it also removes an element of risk with regards to stock bull subfertility or infertility.
According to Mathew, the first-cross Angus and Hereford cows bred from a dairy herd suit AI in a one-man unit. Cows are quiet and easily handled, with Matthew able to separate over 95pc of the cows from the herd and bring them to the yard on their own, the remaining brought into the yard in groups of three.