In 2019 the Irish Charolais Cattle Society undertook a trial to identify easy calving, short gestation length Charolais bulls suitable for both the suckler and dairy market. It involved providing a number of Dairy farmers with AI straws of two highly reliable, easy calving, short gestation length Charolais bulls. The two bulls selected for the project were Coom Indurain CH2000 and Bivouac CH2218. Below are the results from the first group of Dairy farmers who trialled the bulls.
Charolais Cross Dairy Calves on the first farm located in County Laois. These calves are out of British Friesian and Montbeliarde Cross Cows. The CH2000 calves had an average gestation length of 283 days. The CH2218 calves had an average gestation length of 281 days. The farmer is extremely happy with the calves, saying these type of quality calves are in huge demand at present, commanding a price of €350/calf at two weeks old.
The second Dairy farmer is also from County Laois. The majority of the calves on this farm are sired by Bivouac CH2218. These calves had an average gestation length of 281 days. The biggest of the calves were sired by Coom Indurain CH2000. These calves had an average gestation length of 284 days. All the calves on this farm are of British Friesian type cows and are of excellent quality. They were sold of farm at less than two weeks old from €300 – €350 each.
The third farm has a mix of British Friesian and Holstein cross cows. The calves on this farm are mostly sired by Bivouac CH2218, and once again they had an average gestation length of 282 days, which is up there with some of the best in the traditional breeds. Like the other farms, the calves were sold of farm at two weeks old from €300 – €350 each.
Pictured above is Charolais Cross Dairy Calves sold in Mid Tipperary Mart in early March of this year. The bull calves averaged €446 and heifer calves averaged €347. They were all sired by a Charolais stock bull by Oldgrange Sindurain, a very popular Charolais bull with Dairy farmers over the years.
The early results from this trial clearly illustrate that both Bivouac and Coom Indurain are suitable for a range of Dairy cow types. The findings to date also show that Bivouac is slightly shorter on gestation length and slightly easier calved than Coom Indurain. The most important point to note however, is the demand there is for these quality Charolais calves. The results from the remaining farms will be published when calving is complete on those farms.
This year the Society will trial another two AI Charolais bulls, once again they will be selected based on their calving ease, gestation length and calf quality. Below is a list of high Dairy Beef Index Charolais bulls currently available through AI. These figures are based on the March 2020 run of ICBF genetic evaluations.
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