Has the dairy boom started? (early calf registrations would suggest so)
With spring calving commenced on many dairy farms, early indications confirm the widespread predictions of a large increase in milk production in 2015.
Latest data from the ICBF shows that dairy calf registrations are currently running 8.5% ahead of the same time last year.
Up to the week ending January 15, some 7,567 calves have been registered so far compared to 6,974 for the same two weeks in 2014.
A recent Teagasc report showed that two thirds of dairy farmers, or 11,000, plan on expanding their production levels in 2015. Teagasc also forecasts that Irish milk production will increase by 10% in 2015.
Teagasc estimates that 1.499m cows will be needed to achieve the 50% expansion target, which would see an additional 450,000 cows from the 2007-2009 numbers.
In total, some 16,901 calves have been registered so far in 2015 are up 4.2% on the same period last year. Beef calf registrations are up 1% at 9,334.
Farmers reminded of the importance of recording calving data
The ICBF is reminding farmers of the importance of data recording.
It acknowledges that spring can be a busy and stressful time for farmers with an endless list of tasks to be done.
However, it says ensuring that data (namely sires and calving ease) is recorded comprehensively and accurately is vital, not only to the work that ICBF does, but also to the development of our Agri-food industry going forward.
The ICBF says better data recording leads to more accurate genetic indexes.
This will in turn lead to more informed breeding decisions which will leave more profitable stock on farms and increase output at both farm and processor levels, it says.
For this reason, the ICBF highlights that people across the industry that find themselves in regular contact with farmers e.g. agri advisors, breed society representatives, AI company reps and technicians etc. need to constantly stress the importance of recording basic breeding information when registering calves.