The Irish Bull Breeding programme and The Forwards® bulls

The Irish Bull Breeding (IBB) programme is going from strength to strength. Established in 2020, we now have some of our stalwarts from The Forwards® bull team sitting high up on the ranks.

Farmers have used both Moorehill Max & Bopuru Bro extensively over the last two seasons. Max has his second crop of daughters this coming spring and Bro is now getting his first crop on the ground.

Max is still sitting high on the active bull list with a current gBW of 368/52. He’s an F12 with a good blend of milk and fertility. Max has good fat and protein percentages of 5% and 4%. He has strong udders and good capacity.

While Bro, the full NZ Friesian pedigree bull is sitting at a massive gBW of 397/54 and has a good balance of milk and fertility. Fat of 5.4% and protein of 4.1%, with liveweight of only 539kg, he’s an ideal Friesian to increase milk solids and fertility on farm. The daughters of his sire, Cairo were well-liked by UK farmers.

The Forwards bull Bopuru Bro
Bopuru Bro
The Forwards bull Moorehill Max
Moorehill Max

So how does the IBB process work?

Ever wondered how we bulls like Max and Bro end up in the IBB and The Forwards® bull team? It all starts on farm.

We begin by screening calves born on a weekly basis throughout February and March. From here, we select over 400 calves to be genotyped for Economic Breeding Index (EBI). Based on these EBIs around 60 calves make it to the next step. These calves are ear notched so we can get a wet tissue sample, which allows us to produce a gBW.

Once the gBWs come back, we drop the number down to 15 calves. From these, all the dams are inspected and TOP scored. This removes dams with poor udders, feet or conformation traits. Following on from this we make our final selection of calves for our annual intake into The Forwards® bull team.

The bulls that make the cut then head across to the UK, where they are stationed at Cogent’s collection centre in Cheshire.

They are collected here dependent on semen requirements. Then we process the straws into conventional semen as well as the industry leading sexed product, UltraPlus. UltraPlus offers 3% higher conceptions rates than the previous industry leading technology, SexedUltra4M. The bulls spend their time in a state-of-the-art unit designed to give them the best care possible.

The Forwards® bulls are set apart by not only their figures but their origins, and it is important we recognise that. We have built a foundation for the IBB programme around the best New Zealand crossbred cows available in Ireland. These cows are proven in Irish conditions. This is a key feature of these bulls, as the Irish climate is similar to the UK’s just with a little more rainfall. This means farmers can have confidence The Forwards® bulls will work in a UK system and offer genetic diversity.

Whether you want Friesian, Crossbred or Jersey there is something for everyone in the IBB line-up. View The Forwards® bull team online.

by Michelle Lamerton
International Marketing Coordinator
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