are calving down their heifers at
one year and 11 months old. Two-
year-old calving heifers last longer in
herd and milk more in their lifetime
than 3 year old heifers. In all of the
Co-Op areas only 64 per cent of all
dairy replacements calved at 22-26
months of age, ranging from 42 per
cent in LacPatrick to 75 per cent in
Tipperary. The Top 10% achieved
nearly 100 per cent in all Co-Op
a very good system of identifying
where we are genetically and what
is happening on the ground.
Many farmers have adopted
genetic practices that will benefit
themselves and the country. On
the weakness side we can say that
there is a lot more to do and it
leaves some farmers very vulnerable
to milk price and costs volatility
while also adversely a ecting dairy
farmers' status in the "emissions"
debate. Every situation presents
opportunities and with the EBI
system in place, compared with
our international competitors, and
the fact that many farmers are
achieving the genetic targets, we are
in a good place to make progress.
The big threats are emission
requirements, milk price and cost
volatility. The whole industry will be
under pressure if all dairy farmers
don't adopt the practices that
enhance dairy farmers' status in the
I am 50 years giving advice to dairy
farmers and you could conclude,
based on the figure that 49 per
cent of all heifers entering the dairy
herd are by Stock Bulls, that I and
the Advisory service have failed
industry to commit to achieving the
genetic goals that enhance the long
term status of our dairy industry.
ICBF and Teagasc have the proven
and aggressively promoted by the
Advisory Services of Teagasc, private
consultants, DAFM and Co-Ops.
Most Co-Ops have and are doing
a lot but by comparison with most
advice agencies they have the
opportunity of a `carrot and stick'
and must consider that approach.
Whether that be a bonus for milk
recording; a reward for using high
EBI bulls or greater penalties for milk
that is not the quality required.
Advice agencies, while doing farm
walks and group work achieves
the adoption of practice for some
farmers, I think that many farmers are
struggling with computer skills to do
the sire advice on the ICBF site. And
identify the best and worst cows (a
must do task!) and match them to the
appropriate AI bull is challenging for
many good farmers. Advisers should
do this for their clients over the next
4-6 weeks it will take approx, one
hour per 100 cow farmer to do.
The DAFM should make a mandatory
module in the Knowledge Transfer
discussion group project embracing
improved cow fertility management
and the use of AI bulls all easily
measured through ICBF data base."
"We only have only 4-6 weeks to
ensure that cows entering the dairy
herd in 2021 are far superior to those
entering now and fit for purpose for
the environment that lies ahead.