Breeding season: AI usage on down on 2021 & More Live News

The breeding season for 2022 has drawn to a close on the vast majority of spring-calving dairy farms around the country.

This has resulted in artificial insemination (AI) stopping and bulls being removed from cows.

The use of AI on Irish farms has played a massive role in the progression of the national herd.

In the dairy herd we now have highly productive cows, with high levels of fertility.

The use of AI has allowed farmers to access and use the country’s top bulls and benefit from their genetics.

AI usage

Based on data available from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), there has been a decrease in AI usage this year.

Note: This data is based on AI handheld services and does not take into account do-it-yourself (DIY) services.

Based on the handheld data, a total of 982,166 serves have taken place on Irish farms so far this year.

This is down on last year, when 994,839 serves had taken place at the same period.

However, these figure are still significantly ahead of 2020, when 909,170 serves were recorded.

And, although it is a decrease of 12,673 straws, it is only a 1.27% drop in usage.

Breeding season

This reduction can most likely be attributed to a number of factors.

One of these is that a number of cows were culled earlier in the year due to the rising costs on farms, meaning that potentially fewer cows were available to be served this year.

Furthermore, in the early parts of the breeding season, when AI usage would be highest, there were very favourable conditions.

Cows were generally in good condition and grass growth was good too, which can result in good conception rates within herds.

Another factor is the increased usage of sexed semen, with AI companies reporting between a 50-75% increase compared to 2021.

This may have resulted in less straws being used on farms, with some farmers instead choosing to turn out the bulls earlier.

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