Dairy calf registrations, since the start of the year, are currently running 16% ahead of 2014, according to latest figures from the ICBF.
Its figures show some 754,538 dairy calves have been registered by farmers to date, compared with 649,671 over the same period last year. This represents a total of 104,867 extra calves on the ground compared to last years figures.
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.
Only 3% of farmers plan to expand production by 50% or more during the period 2015-2017.
Taking existing production levels, as recorded by the Teagasc NFS in 2013, and applying each farmer’s stated production plans for the 2015 to 2017 period, it is possible to estimate the change in aggregate planned production that would result.
Beef registrations also high
The ICBF figures also show that beef calf births are also running significantly ahead of 2014. To date 246,474 beef calves have been registered up 18% on the 207,887 registered over the same period in 2014. This represents an increase of 38,587 head over the period.