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Research Call

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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11 S 116 UL (Teagasc, UCD, ICBF) 672,598

Project Title:

Maximising the Genetic Potential of Young Elite Bulls - A Multidisciplinary Approach

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Sean Fair

Project Abstract

Ireland's pasture based dairy production system is highly dependent on calving cows compactly at the beginning of the grass-growing season. Through the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), Ireland has implemented an Economic Breeding Index (EBI) which is a profit index identifying the most elite sires suitable for this system. Recently, genomic selection has increased the rate of genetic gain through shortening the generation interval, and young bulls with the potential to be used in artificial insemination (AI) programmes are now being identified at birth and used extensively at 12-15 months of age. Using current protocols, these young bulls produce low volumes of semen and, therefore, their genetic potential cannot be fully exploited. This proposal involves a novel multidisciplinary approach which proposes to develop a blue-print for the rearing of young bulls in order to optimise the onset of puberty in order to maximise semen production in their first breeding season, while not compromising the health status of these animals. In addition, we propose to use a series of in vitro and in vivo studies to maximise the use of fresh semen. Finally, this proposal will assess the impact of using sexed semen in a pasture-based system, and model the impact on heifer availability, on the rate of dairy herd expansion and farm profitability.

Final Report:

Not available yet.