Dairy Conference: Teagasc to issue 2020 dairy breeding policy

Additional reporting by Emma Gilsenan in Killarney

Speaking at the Teagasc National Dairy Conference today, Tuesday, December 3, in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Teagasc director Gerry Boyle outlined that the agency will be launching a breeding policy for 2020 later today.

The conference takes place today in Killarney and will take place in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, on Thursday, December 5.

Sustainability is the theme of this year’s Teagasc National Dairy Conference.

The Teagasc director noted that the breeding policy will contain four key aspects:
  • Use sufficient high EBI AI genetics to generate the required number of replacement heifers and in tandem increase the EBI of your herd;
  • Use the Dairy Beef Index (DBI) to select suitable beef AI sires for the dairy herd;
  • Select high EBI cows and maiden heifers to breed the next generation of replacement heifers, and use beef genetics on low EBI cows;
  • Use sexed semen where possible for breeding dairy replacements (if using Jersey genetics, only use sexed semen) while taking into account the guidelines outlined below and discussing with your advisor.

Boyle explained the details of the breeding policy. He said: “Teagasc is advising farmers to use sufficient high-EBI genetics to generate the required number of replacement heifers in tandem with increasing the overall EBI in your herd.

Secondly, we’re strongly advocating that dairy farmers use the DBI to select suitable AI sires for the dairy herd.

Continuing, the Teagasc director added: “We recommend that dairy farmers select high-EBI dairy cows and maiden heifers to breed the next generation of replacements and use beef genetics on low-EBI cows.

Finally, we’re advising that sexed semen be used where possible when breeding dairy replacements and, when using Jersey genetics, to only use sexed semen.

Guidelines on the advice will be made available on the Teagasc website later today.

Concluding, the Teagasc director stressed: “We strongly advise all farmers to discuss their breeding strategy with their advisor.”

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