Irish Dairy Farmers: World Leaders in Cattle Breeding

IRELAND - Irish dairy farmers are world leaders in cattle breeding. The key genomes affecting milk production and fertility have been identified by Irish geneticists.
calendar icon 1 September 2009
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This year’s crop of calves entering cattle breeding stations around the country have been short-listed in part using gene testing with only the most promising being selected for progeny testing. Six spring-born bull calves from the herd of Paddy O’Leary, Conna, Fermoy were genomically selected as potential recruits for Ireland’s cattle breeding industry.

The O’Leary family will host a major Open Day on their farm, as members of the winning group in the ACCBank EBI Discussion Group competition, on Tuesday, 8 September 2009.

"Dairy farmers have been quick to adopt this technology. This year, just months after the technology was developed, genomically selected bulls accounted for one-third of the AI used on Irish dairy farms," said Andrew Cromie, Irish Cattle Breeding Federation. Continuing he said, "Nowhere else in the world has gene testing been so widely adopted as by Irish dairy farmers. Two-thirds of the calves to be born in the herds of the winning Blackwater Discussion Group next spring will have been sired by this new generation of genomically selected AI bulls."

Teagasc Dairy Programme Manager, Matt Ryan said, "Farmers can double the rate of genetic improvement in their dairy herds by using bulls selected with this technology. Our target of an annual herd EBI increase of €5 can now double to €10 per year. If achieved, this herd EBI increase is worth €36 million annually to Irish dairy farmers."

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