The beginning of June usually sees a reduction in the number of calf registrations. But still, more than one-quarter of spring-calving dairy cows calved later than April 1, in 2019 and 2020.

Each day that a late-calving cow is waiting to calve is costing you money. For example, a May-calving cow will eat twice as much silage as a February-calving cow.

Late-calving cows are also often overfat at calving. Overfat cows have a much higher tendency to experience calving difficulty and incidences of milk fever, retained placenta and ketosis.

A late-calving cow will have fewer days in milk, overall, contributing a lot less to milk sales than a cow that calved before her.

The question that farmers who operate a spring-calving system should ask themselves is: do these late-calving cows need be culled and replaced with a February or March-calving animal?

economic cost

Calf registrations

Total calf registrations are 41,218 ahead of last year’s figure for the same period, according to the latest statistics from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

In the week ending June 4, some 29,608 calves were registered – 18,787 were beef and 10,821 were dairy.

Taking a closer look at these figures, we can see that the current total for dairy calves is sitting at 1,393,944 head, an increase of 55,128 head when compared to the 2020 figure.

Looking at the suckler-calf registrations in more detail, we see that 18,787 were registered, a slight increase on last year’s figure of 18,347 calves.

From the figures, we can see that 553,539 beef calves have been registered so far this year, which is actually an decrease of 13,910 when compared to 2020 when 567,449 calves were registered.

When combined, total calf registrations – both dairy and suckler – are running ahead of last year’s figures with 1,947,483 registrations. This represents an increase of 41,218 when compared to 2020 figures of 1,906,265.

Calf registrations up to and including week ending June 4, 2021:

  • Beef births: 553,539 head (-13,910 head);
  • Dairy births: 1,393,944 head (+55,128 head);
  • Total births: 1,947,483 head (+41,218 head).