Beef bulls have gone online, with 8,173 views of ICBF’s Stockbull Finder service in its first two months, after it was launched in early October, writes Stephen Cadogan.
On average, there were 110 views per day, and the average time spent on the page was three minutes, which is excellent in website traffic terms.
Stockbull Finder is the online Bull Sales section on the icbf.com website of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, as part of its brief to provide cattle breeding information services to the dairy and beef industries.
“We are just facilitating the opportunity for a participating pedigree breeder to get contacted by a beef farmer looking for a new bull,” said Pat Donnellan of ICBF.
“It’s brilliant to see these usage results climbing so high so quickly, and they back up reports from participating pedigree breeders who have been contacted by farmers through the Stockbull Finder, and have made sales.”
The stockbull finder advertises only bulls that are in herds that have been Whole Herd Performance Recorded.
These bulls have all been linear scored and weighed, which improves the reliability of their breeding indexes, to the point where they are the most reliable genetic indexes a bull can have without having progeny on the ground.
Any pedigree beef breeder that wishes to have their bulls advertised for sale on the Stockbull Finder must first successfully carry out a Whole Herd Visit, which requires rounding up their cattle to get them performance recorded.
Breed societies have played a role, by hosting Stockbull Finder on their websites.
After the whole herd visit is completed by the ICBF scorer in a participating pedigree herd, all pedigree bulls that were present at the visit (aged 10 months to three years old) are automatically put up on the Stockbull Finder, with the breeder’s contact details, to facilitate sales enquiries.
Pedigree breeders who are in the WHPR program can manage their bulls through their Herdplus logins, for example taking bulls off the Finder because they are not for sale, injured etc. They can add photos, and enter comments about their bulls.
According to ICBF, the Stockbull Finder is one of the biggest reasons pedigree breeders are joining their Whole Herd Performance Recording programme, which now has more than 500 pedigree breeders.
Stockbull Finder is the only search engine for beef bulls in Ireland where all of the bulls have been independently weighed and scored by ICBF.
Bull buyers can, for example, single out a bull to improve replacement index and maternal traits in their herds, for the BDGP scheme.