The Forwards® sire team: Going from strength-to-strength

We are now in the fourth year of the Irish Bull Breeding (IBB) program and have been working with farmers all over Ireland to produce the next generation of The Forwards® bulls for selection as sires. 

During this time, we have seen a lot of exceptional cows doing in excess of 600-700kg milk solids from less than 0.5 T of meal. These cows are still calving down in the first 3 weeks giving the holy grail of fertility and milk with no compromise! Breeding these proven cows with top-ranked proven sires gives the best chance of producing some very good young bulls for selection as sires. 

IBB genomic bulls stand out from the others:

  • The Forwards are a genomic team sired by top LIC daughter-proven bulls.
  • Genomic selection advances in New Zealand allow us to screen the DNA of our Irish bulls against the NZ reference population in a single step model to obtain a unique genomic BW (gBW). This gives us confidence in the bulls we secure for our program.
  • gBW assesses fertility differently, using phenotypes that are more relevant in seasonal calving systems, where early-calving cows are highly valued.
    Instead of calving interval, the 6-week calving rate (CR42) is currently used and further enhancements to fertility genetic evaluation are coming soon. This is more appropriate because calving interval can potentially penalise the early-calved fertile cow.1
    Stachowicz, Berry, Cromie and others addressed this issue in their 2018 paper ‘Changes to the Genetic Evaluation of Fertility in Irish Dairy Cattle’1, which concluded –
    ‘For seasonal herds, the introduction of calving rate and conception rate traits offers an opportunity to further enhance the fertility evaluation by better extracting information from calving and mating date phenotypes in seasonal calving herds.’
    gBW includes NZ genomic information, which increases reliability of later-expressed traits such as fertility and longevity.
  • LIC breeding experts examine the candidate bull’s pedigree, physical attributes and cow family information to increase the accuracy of delivering genetics to further improve the genetic merit of your herd.

The 2020 intake:

Last year’s intake of bulls has been well received by farmers not just in Ireland but also the UK, France and beyond. Farmers are showing confidence in our genomic evaluation and selection process via demand for The Forwards sexed semen product.

In 2022, The Forwards® bull team will be available in sexed for the Irish market, including Moorehill Max (F12J4) with 337 gBW and 279 gEBI. Max is sired by the well-known Carsons FM Cairo (FR4507), he is impressive on fertility at 4.0 gBV. His dam’s six-year CI average is 371 days.

IBB Bull Ireland FR6892 Moorehill Max

Our programme manager, John Tobin proudly presents the latest test bulls to join The Forwards® team adding,

“This year’s new recruits are shaping up nicely with some exciting new bulls coming on-stream. For the first time the 2021 intake will have something for everyone, offering Holstein Friesian, Jersey and KiwiCross® sires to choose from. Again, these bulls are from herds that are doing the business on farms reflective of the typical grass-based, spring calving herds of Ireland and New Zealand.

So, let’s take a look at these bulls.”

Holstein Friesian:

Martin Kinane’s herd outside Tipp town has been the home to the one of the highest EBI herds in Ireland for a long number of years. Martin Kinane has been using LIC genetics for decades, so it is no wonder he has a bull like LIC BOPURU BRO coming through. The prefix for this bull is what The Forwards and Martin’s herd are all about. Bopuru is made of Bo (Irish for cow) and Puru (Maori for bull). The dam itself is Martin’s favourite cow and he calls her “superb”. This cow has achieved 645kgms/yr and 359-day CI over 8 lactations. Bopuru Bro himself sired by Cairo has an €279 gEBI with Milk €116 and Fert €124 and $296 gBW with a 3.2 Fert BV. Solids are high for the F15 bull. At 540kg liveweight, this bull will fit into any breeding program.


LIC CLOHANE CRACKER’S dam has been on the radar for the last two years, as she had all the attributes of a bull mother that you would like to see. She is a hardworking cow in a large commercial herd and doing the production with no special treatment. The 536kg liveweight dam is producing 600kgms/lactation on average over the last 6 lactations, while still achieving 364 CI. And now to top it off, this West Cork cow has bred Clohane Cracker. Sired by Riverview and Dexter, Cracker has an €271 gEBI with Milk €102 and Fert €113, and $264 gBW with 2.5 Fert gBV.


The NZ Jerseys have been making noise since they arrived in Moorepark in 2018. Nextgen Hillstar Penny is the dam of LIC NEXT GEN IMPOSSIBLE. Penny by name but pounds by production, Penny has produced 505kgms/lactation as a mature 454kg cow while holding onto a 369-day CI. Impossible will increase your solids without increasing litres over the Irish base cow and is ideal for farmers who want more solids but want to supply less litres. Sired by Irish favourite Gallivant.

NameEBIFertility SIMilk SIMilk kgFat kg/%Protein kg/%gBWFertility BVMilk Volume BV (l)Fat KG/% BVProtein KG/ % BVSireBreed SplitA2 Status
LIC MOOREHILL MAX279/551261002419 / 0.3111 / 0.17337/584.053946/5.131/4.0CARSONS FM CAIRO F12J4A2/A2
LIC BOPURU BRO279/5512411615225 / 0.3313 / 0.14296/553.239745/5.327/4.0CARSONS FM CAIRO F15J1A1/A2
LIC CLOHANE CRACKER271/53113102-16820 / 0.488 / 0.24264/552.517636/5.321/4.1RIVERVIEW AND DEXTERJ9F7A2/A2
LIC NEXT GEN IMPOSSIBLE  252/53101107-24520 / 0.547 / 0.29234/552.8-31823/5.69/4.3ULMARRA TT GALLIVANT J16A2/A2

Just a taste of the bulls coming through our breeding programme and the values that drive our selection process.

For advice on how to use The Forwards® bulls as part of your breeding programme or to order, contact your LIC Ireland breeding advisor.

  1. Stachowicz, K., Jenkins, G.M., Amer, P.R., Berry, D.P., Kelleher, M.M., Kearney, F.F., Evans, R.D., and Cromie, A.R.   Changes to Genetic evaluation if Fertility in Irish Dairy Cattle. Proceedings of the Interbull Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. February 10-12 2018. Interbull Bulletin 53, 57-62
by Katrina Younger
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