Tips for setting up your herd for a successful breeding season
LIC, the New Zealand based genetics company, is flying in Joyce Voogt to be the keynote speaker at this year’s series of LIC/Eurogene information meetings and farm walk tours, which kick off on March 26 in Cork.
As a trained vet and reproduction specialist, Joyce will be discussing heat detection, body condition score, heifer management and dealing with non-cycling cows.
The LIC international technical manager will detail the key targets Irish dairy farmers should aim for when breeding their herd, along with explaining how some of LIC’s exclusive Premier Club tools can help at this critical juncture.
After the first event in Cork, the LIC expert will travel around the country to speak directly to farmers in Tipperary, Waterford, Meath, Galway, Mayo and Monaghan, at various dates right up until Monday, April 9.
LIC has a philosophy of working alongside customers to help them get the best out of the genetics they use and this series of information meetings plays an important part in that.
LIC is encouraging Irish farmers to attend one or more of the talks, as the focus at this important time of the year will be on the spring mating period and key areas for achieving success.
Ahead of the visit, we spoke to Joyce about her background and the reasons for her visit to Ireland.
What is your role as LIC’s international technical manager?
As international technical manager, I support LIC’s international team, distributors and farmer customers around the world.
This involves providing technical support for enquiries, creating resources for use on-farm, speaking engagements and science extension work.
It’s quite varied and there’s never a dull day. I get a buzz from helping dairy farmers successfully breed a herd of cows they love. A herd that will meet their needs for profit, performance and ease of management.
How did you get involved in the industry?
My family have been farmers for generations so I guess it’s in the blood. I grew up around cows and had an affinity with them since childhood, which led to my veterinary career and also our own career in dairying since 1989.
It’s fulfilling as a dairy farmer to produce top-quality dairy nutrition for people around the world. It’s a great reason to get up in the morning and I’m sure most Irish farmers feel the same way.
How do you find working as a woman in a male-dominated industry of AI?
It’s a great industry to work in for both men and women. It’s always been a positive experience for me seeing genetic improvement deliver important efficiency gains to farming and food production; delivering these benefits to farmers spurs us all on.
What is the New Zealand view of the Irish dairy industry?
New Zealand and Ireland have many things in common and have always enjoyed a close relationship. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think that generally New Zealanders regard the Irish dairy industry as progressive, innovative and forward looking.
We are all dairy farmers together and there is huge potential for all of us as our industry evolves.
Do you see much of a difference between the way New Zealand farmers and Irish farmers conduct their business?
Some things will differ, of course, but the fundamentals of conducting a dairy farm business are the same. We live and work hard on the land caring for our cows, customers and environment.
We strive to make the best use of the resources available to us to generate quality milk from healthy and highly-efficient cows; converting pasture into milk in the most profitable way.
Do you see LIC’s investment in Ireland continuing to grow over the years?
LIC has been investing significantly in Ireland for over 20 years already and that is set to continue. It’s rewarding to see the growth in use of LIC genetics in Ireland and to hear from farmers about the gains in herd fertility and performance that result.
Our commitment to the Irish market is evident with the launch of the Premier Club, which now allows Irish farmers even greater access to elite bulls; but also the recent announcement that LIC is looking to establish an Irish Bull Breeding Programme in 2018.
What are the biggest challenges you see facing Irish farmers currently and over the next number of years?
Irish farmers will know this best themselves of course. However, from the outside looking in, it appears they are facing many of the same challenges as New Zealand farmers; namely environmental stewardship and sustainability issues, staffing challenges with industry growth, significant climatic events, along with international milk price volatility.
What advice will you be giving to Irish farmers during your visit?
Rather than advising Irish farmers, I’m looking forward to facilitating some good discussions, bringing a few insights from dairy research internationally and learning more about how LIC can continue to support them in the future.