Over 87,000 extra dairy calves born so far this spring

Dairy calves continue to be registered in high numbers with figures from the ICBF showing that dairy calf registrations are running 10% ahead of last year.

To date some 901,519 dairy bred calves have been registered with the ICBF, this compares to 814,196 at the same stage last year.

The figures mean some 87,323 extra calves have been registered by dairy farmers this year.

ICBF registrations

The pace of the increase in dairy calf registrations, has slowed through April. This is illustrated by figures from last week in March which saw registrations running 16% ahead of 2014.

Much of the increase is likely due to the post milk quota expansion of Ireland’s dairy industry. Research has suggested that over 300,000 extra dairy cows will be required to achieve a 50% increase in milk volume targeted by the sector.

The latest figures are in line with a recent survey of dairy farmers production plans by Teagasc.

It found that 60% of dairy farmers, or 11,000 farmers, plan to expand milk production in the 2015 to 2017 period.

A further one-third of farmers plan to maintain their current production level, while a small proportion, 5%, are planning to either decrease or exit milk production.

The average current herd size of those planning to increase production was 79 cows, while those planning no change in production had an average herd size of 51 cows at the time of the survey.

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