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Fewer than half of Irish dairy cows are milk recorded.
Only 48 per cent of Irish dairy herds are engaged in milk
recording. As of the end of 2017, out of a national herd
total of 1.445 million dairy cows, only 690,000 cows were
being milk recorded. Apart from the proven economic
benefits of milk recording, there are added arguments for
advocating that a system of mandatory milk recording
should be introduced in this country.
The rationale for the establishment of a universal and
mandatory milk recording programme for every lactating
dairy cow and dairy herd includes promoting continuing
improvement in milk quality, particularly Somatic Cell
Count (SCC).
Progress through knowledge
In order to improve herd and cow health though the
identification and remediation of mammary health issues
there is no option but to individually milk record cows
across their lactation. So as to provide information that
can be used by herd owners and managers to improve
milk yield, milk solids and milk quality through selective
breeding and culling, ultimately improving profitability,
there is a cast iron case to be made for milk recording
across every herd and every cow in the national herd.
Herds that are milk recording get access to high EBI
young bulls through the Gene Ireland programme.
Getting these bulls tested in herds that are milk recording
allows ICBF to prove these bulls in a shorter period of
time, thereby increasing the speed of genetic gain. It is
not possible to acquire the information necessary for
selective culling in order to improve the health status and
productivity of dairy herds unless the owner/manager has
the necessary milk recording figures for all of the cows in
a herd.
From blanket to selective therapies
There is a growing momentum in the international
dairy industry to move away from the practice of using
blanker antimicrobial therapy in dry cow programmes.
Some countries are further ahead than others. With the
increasing incidence of anti-microbial resistance (AMR)
in humans and animals, the pressure to reduce antibiotic
usage generally will only increase. Developing protocols
to minimise or even eliminate antibiotic-based dry cow
therapy takes time and knowledge, specifically knowledge
of an individual cow's mammary health status. Such
case for
Matt O'Kee e argues the case
for mandatory milk recording
in the dairy industry