'Surviveability' focus in new Grange herd

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

a NEW beef herd trial is getting under way in Teagasc Grange with 120 yearling heifers already assembled.

The focus of the trial is to validate the ICBF's new maternal beef index with two groups of high and low index animals involved.

"The sire indexes vary from about €46 to €148," said the new herd manager, Robert Prenderville.

It will be one of the first beef trials here that is not breed specific, with animals selected purely on the basis of being representative of the national herd.

As a result, Limousin and Angus crosses dominate, but half of the cows will also be dairy crosses.

"We're hoping to assess the reproductive efficiency of the herd. The survivability of the average suckler cow out there at the moment is very poor.

"The national average for the lifetime output is only 2.05 calves per cow at the moment. That really needs to improve," said Mr Prenderville, who also manages Teagasc's dairy calf-to-beef trial in Johnstown Castle.

The Kerry native expects the maternal index trials to last at least five years.

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