Farm Ireland

Friday 17 November 2017

A picture of health

Herd health forums hosted by Dr Charles Chavasse and Mary Newman are to be a feature of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) stand at Ratheniska this week.

The experts will give practical, helpful talks on the challenges and strategies in dealing with IBR, BVD and Johnes, which will be of great help to farmers who want to minimise potential economic, production and genetic losses due to disease threats.

Taking place at Stand Number 31, Row LS in Block 4, the forums will take place daily at 12 noon and 2.30pm.

Visitors to the stand will also be in with a chance to win a pedigree registered Holstein Friesian calf. The high genetic merit heifer calf will join the herd of one lucky visitor who enters the draw, free of charge, over any of the three days in the pavilion.

A selection of seven pedigree registered Holstein Friesian cows will be on display at the IHFA pavilion. These cows have been chosen as examples of the efficient production and wide genetic diversity for which Holstein Friesians are renowned.

Looking to the future, the IHFA has recently agreed to adopt SNP technology for genomic testing, which will build on the advancement in genomic testing in Ireland. As a result of this decision, all pedigree registered bulls will receive genomic breeding values, allowing breeders to make informed decisions about what animals to keep in their herds.

An analysis of IHFA registered bull calves born in the spring of 2013 showed that in excess of 500 bulls had a genomic EBI of more than €200 and 14 bulls had a genomic EBI of more than €300. Without genomic testing, it's likely some of those top bulls would have been slaughtered instead of being retained.

Meanwhile, a number of other organisations will join forces with the IHFA at the Ploughing Championships. Trade stands from Volac, the Irish Equine Centre (IEC) and its sister, Weatherbys DNA laboratory, will provide information on a range of issues including nutrition, BVD testing and DNA testing.

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