Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

First Irish dairy bull semen heads to NZ

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

It was one-way traffic for many years, but it looks like Irish dairy bulls are starting to make an impact Down Under as international semen distributors, ABS, began exporting two Cork-bred bulls to New Zealand in recent weeks.

In what is believed to be the first of its kind, 10,000 straws from Irish bulls Radney Rock bred by Henry O'Keeffe from Knockailla, Freemount, Charleville, and Hanrahan Victorious bred by Eddie and Matthew Hanrahan, Corracunna, Mitchelstown are now being sold in New Zealand.

Both herds are spring calving, with Mr O'Keeffe averaging 8,500kg at 4.2pc butterfat and 3.63pc protein from his 70-cow herd.

The herd features regularly in Irish Holstein Friesian Association awards, with several cows having yielded over 3,000kg of protein in their lifetime and classified as excellent (EX).

The Hanrahans milk 50 cows with an average yield of 6,490kg at 4pc butterfat and 3.4pc protein.

"Both these bulls were selected for the ABS Ireland Grassland Programme because their progeny excel among herd mates for production, fertility and longevity in a grass-based system without any preferential treatment," said ABS's Ciaran O'Shea.

Andrew Rutter, ABS European Sire Analyst said that he was really excited about the potential for more Irish sires to be sold in other countries with grassland-based systems such as Australia, Britain, Chile and South Africa.

"Other markets are already making enquiries," he claimed.

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Rock and Victorious are being distributed through Samen NZ in New Zealand.

Both of the bulls are already available in Ireland and Britain as conventional and sexed semen.

Ciarán O'Shea said ABS was looking to increase the number of Irish bulls it purchased for its testing programme to 10 in 2014.

"We're open to purchasing bulls with EBIs of at least €250, provided they meet a range of other criteria," he said.

"Some breeders are in line for payments of close to €13,000 when their bulls enter distribution," he added.

Mr O'Shea is confident that other Irish bulls within the ABS Grassland testing programme will also make the grade for export to the Southern Hemisphere.

Irish Independent