2020 dairy calvings: What does the picture look like so far?
The thick of the calving season is upon us, as we head into the month of February. Taking a look at calving statistics for the first week of February, dairy births are ahead by 10,674 head, or by 12%, when compared to the same week last year.
This is according to the latest figures released by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).
Some 88,660 births have been recorded – so far this week (week ending February 7) – on dairy farms across the country; in comparison to 77,986 head for this time of last year.
This significant difference is likely due to the increase in the national herd population; however, it may also be attributed to an earlier calving start date (in contrast to last year’s later calving start date).
On some farms, a later calving start date will improve grass utilisation, as calving should begin at the onset of grass growth and preferably six weeks before ‘magic day’.
Last year – potentially influenced by the weather events of 2018 – dairy calving statistics were behind by 14,788 births or by 16% when compared to the same week in 2018.
A total of 79,426 calves were registered on farms – up to the week ending February 8 – in 2019; while 94,214 calves were registered on farms in the same week of 2018.
Likewise, for overall dairy calf registrations to date, the figures are ahead on this time last year – from 145,217 to 171,740. This is an increase of 15%.
Between 2019 and 2018, total dairy calf registrations were behind by 43,229 head – from 188,446 in 2018 to 145,217 in 2019.
Lastly, taking a brief look at overall calf registrations to date, some 219,630 calves have been registered thus far this year – an increase of 28,696 from 2019.