More dairy farmers are opting for artificial breeding (AB), boosting sales for LIC.
Most are the result of a contract mating between a top cow and one of LIC’s top bulls; all have passed inspection by LIC’s breeding team.
Simon Worth, livestock selection manager, says the bull calves are chosen for their potential to produce high performing, efficient dairy cows. The bull calf’s parentage, DNA profile and physical traits are all taken into account.
“We personally eyeball each calf to make sure of their physical condition.”
The bull calves will now be put through their paces, to see if they will be up to joining the Premier Sires.
Each will be named and reared to maturity, undergoing health testing, vaccinations and training. Their first semen collection will take place at one year of age, and their first daughters be born the following year.
Worth says getting a bull to Premier Sires status is a long game and only about 1% of all the calves inspected by LIC each year will make it.
“It takes four years for a bull to become daughter proven, which is when we can get the first lot of production and conformation information from their two-year-old daughters.
Calves that enter the sire proving scheme are bought by LIC.