EBI values set to increase to the tune of €30

The EBI (Economic Breeding Index) value of dairy bulls is expected to increase by €30 in the next evaluation run, the ICBF’s Kevin Downing told farmers at this week’s Teagasc National Dairy Conference.

Downing explained that a number of factors are responsible for this change. These include:

  • An update of the economic values based on latest data from Teagasc regarding the values and costs of milk production systems in Ireland;
  • The implementation of a Test Day Model for routine genetic evaluations of milk production traits, as opposed to the current approach which is based on 305-day yields;
  • An update of the training population on which the genomic predictions for young sires (and females) are derived.

He said: “The Teagasc Dairy Farm Systems Model has been updated and the new evaluations – which will be coming out on January 10 – will have the new updated model included.

This model increases milk price up to 30.5c/L. The value of fat has really gone up in the last 12-18 months, so the system has been updated to cater for the more accurate market returns.

This has resulted in fat increasing in value by €1.04/kg to €2.08/kg and protein reducing in value by €1.06/kg to €5.58/kg. From now on, it’s planned to re-visit all these calculations every two years.

Table source: ICBF

Downing also said that labour costs have also increased under this model; moving from €12.44/hour up to €15/hour.

The cost of a caesarean section has risen to €235 with a call out fee of €90. With the increase in labour cost, the cost of rearing heifers has risen from €1,545 to €1,570.

We are also moving away from the 305-day yield model, that we currently use to calculate the milk sub-index. The new Test Day Model is more accurate for our grass-based system.

“It accounts for the non-genetic effects like weather, grass quality and feed. It will also be much better at highlighting bulls that are more persistent towards the back-end of the year.

“These bulls mightn’t have the same peak earlier in the year; but they may sire cows that produce right out into the back end of the year.”

The overall changes, he said, will be modest enough. He said: “About €10-15 will come on the back of the milk price increase; a €10-15 increase will also come through the use of the Test Day Model.”