What are the benefits of milk recording?

The outbreak of Covid-19 called a halt to milk recording on many farms across the country over the last few months.

Generally, farmers – who normally milk record – would have at least one if not two milk recordings carried out by now under normal circumstances.

Milk recording offers a number of advantages to farmers that may have been in the past overlooked and not thought of as that important.

The ban on the blanket use of antibiotics at dry-off is set to come into effect at the start of 2022, which is not that far away in the grand scheme of things.

Therefore, this gives farmers, who don’t milk record their cows, a chance to build up a profile of their herd and identify cows that have a high somatic cell count (SCC).

By milk recording now, you are giving yourself a chance to show what cows will require antibiotic treatment at drying off and what cows won’t.

In order to build up a profile of your herd and demonstrate why you might need to administer antibiotics at drying off then the sooner you begin milk recording the better.

According to Teagasc, a minimum of five or six milk recordings are needed to build up a picture of the pattern of mastitis in your herd.

Some advantages of milk recording include:

  • Track your best and worst producers;
  • Detect high-SCC cows and control your herd’s average SCC;
  • Useful as a culling tool;
  • Add value to your herd through improved herd records.

Your milk recording records are a very effective way to identify under-performing cows for culling.

Knowing your best/worst cows can be very useful when it comes to breeding. Under-performing cows – not suitable for breeding replacements – can be chosen by farmers to either not breed off at all or serve with a beef breed.

Furthermore, milk recording can help to monitor infections acquired during the dry period and the success of the dry cow treatments that were administered at the end of lactation.