2013-12-27   facebook twitter rss

Chesney Farm Walk Challenges Old Chesnutts

Suckler herd owners walking the Kircubbin farm of Sam Chesney and family found old ideas challenged during an autumn AgriSearch event.

On average Ulster suckler heifer calves enter the herd at a costly 31 months of age yet farmers such as Sam Chesney involved in AgriSearch supported research calve stock for the first time by 24 months. Heifers that then mature into fertile cows weighing close to a target 650kg.

Eye to eye with quality sucklers on the Chesney family farm on the lower Ards Peninsula, closer to Ayr than to Belfast!.

Eye to eye with quality sucklers on the Chesney family farm on the lower Ards Peninsula, closer to Ayr than to Belfast!.

On farm research commissioned by AgriSearch to investigate the role of synchronisation and artificial insemination (AI) for beef heifers was the main feature of this Co Down farm walk.

The Chesney family run 130 Limousin cross suckler cows on 190 acres of grassland with an emphasis on high herd health status and using stock, regardless of breed, with proven genetic potential.

Dr Francis Lively of AFBI Hillsborough told those attending that the potential benefits of synchronisation of suckler heifers include;

  • ensuring they produce their first calf early in the season

  • batch calving

  • being able to use proven, superior genetics with high estimated breeding values (EBVs).

This AgriSearch pilot study involved 140 suckler heifers on five farms across Northern Ireland. Two of the farms used heat detection and the remaining three farms used fixed time AI.

Aside from AgriSearch support for this project was received from Zoetis, Genus ABS and AI Services (NI) Ltd.

Achieving target weight (60%+ of mature weight) prior to mating; a good plane of nutrition; sound animal health status; having the necessary vaccinations completed pre synchronisation and; following the synchronisation protocol in a timely manner were all key elements of success.

The importance of planning ahead and making the necessary arrangements with your vet and AI technician were highlighted as was the use of the correct size of needle for administering the prostaglandin.

Results from the pilot study showed that both synchronisation systems (heat detection & fixed time) resulted in a very similar conception rate (57%) and the use of synchronisation significantly reduced the calving spread of the heifers


  Related Links
link New Mince Labelling Laws
link Angus Society welcomes Neil Caul as Assistant Secretary
link 20,000gns for Limousin Red Lady
link Hexham Store Cattle & Sheep
link Beef Cattle

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