NZ farmers select Irish bulls for cattle breeding

New Zealand farmers are choosing Irish bulls for their cattle breeding and boosting the potential for further growth in semen exports.

ABS Ireland, based in Castletownroche, Co Cork, sent its first shipment of AI straws from their grassland programme to New Zealand in November.

The sires involved are Radney Rock, bred by Henry O’Keeffe, Knockailla, Freemount, Charleville, and Hanrahan Victorious, bred by Eddie and Matthew Hanrahan, Corracunna, Mitchelstown. The breeders are Irish Holstein Friesian Association members.

Henry O’Keeffe milks some 70 cows and supplies Kerry Co-op. His spring calving herd was established in 1987.

The Hanrahans’ spring calving herd of around 50 cows was established in 1995. Milk is supplied to Dairygold Co-op.

Ciaran O’Shea, dairy product specialist with ABS Ireland, said the bulls involved were selected for the ABS Ireland Grassland Programme because they met specific breeding criteria which include easy care and long-life cows.

“This means their progeny must excel among herd mates for production, fertility and longevity in a grass-based system without any preferential treatment,” he said.

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