English suckler herd producers are being encouraged to improve the genetics within their herd thanks to a new initiative from AHDB Beef & Lamb.
The organisation is offering 50 per cent funding towards the cost of DIY Artificial Insemination (AI) courses to suckler producers with over 30 breeding females. The courses, which are taking place across the country, are being run by Westpoint Farm Vets and FarmSkills, available through XLVets training services.
AI is not commonly used on suckler farms, however it can be an excellent way of improving herd genetics without the cost of buying and keeping a bull on farm. Using AI enables producers to select bulls that are suited to their herd’s breeding programme. Sires can be chosen for both maternal and terminal traits and sexed semen is also available, enabling producers to breed their own replacement heifers. Using AI sires to breed replacements also removes the need to replace stock bulls every two years.
Amy Fawcett, AHDB Beef & Lamb knowledge transfer officer, said: “Having the ability to perform AI themselves enables producers to serve cattle at the correct time and reduces service costs. When used alongside a synchronisation programme, calving blocks can be tightened and cattle can be calved in groups, making them easier to manage.”
AHDB’s 2017-2020 strategy sets out priorities for the organisation over the next three years, one of which is driving greater on-farm uptake of superior genetics by increasing the use and understanding of estimated breeding values. Enabling producers to perform AI on farm means they have the potential to improve profitability by increasing the genetic potential of their herd.
Producers can register their interest or find their nearest course provider by emailing ku.gr1519077134o.bdh1519077134a@prb1519077134 or phone 024 7647 8834.