The uptake of milk recording on Irish dairy farms continues to grow, with a 20% increase in the number of cows recorded this year compared to 2020.

The increase in uptake can mainly be contributed to changes in EU regulations, that kick-in on January 28, 2022.

These changes will see the use of blanket antibiotic dry cow therapy (ADCT) and the treatment of livestock with antibiotics become stricter.

The ultimate aim is to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR), as AMR in humans is being linked to antibiotic use in animals.

Milk recording

Less than 40% of dairy farms completed a recording in 2020; this would of been somewhat hampered by the Covid-19 lockdowns.

But even before Covid-19, milk recording uptake had been quite low in previous years. Currently, about 44% of herds nationally, have completed a milk recording in 2021, based off the latest figures from the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF).

From the figures, updated on October 15, we can see that 7,966 herds have completed at least one milk recording in 2021.

Also from the latest figures, we can see that 963,521 cows have been recorded this year. This is a 20% increase compared to 2020 figures when 802,959 cows had been recorded.


Milk recording offers many benefits to farmers, including identifying high somatic cell counts (SCC) and tracking production.

It also allows farmers to identify their best and worst cows, which allows them to make better management decisions.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Tracking your best and worst producers;
  • Detecting high SCC cows and controlling your herd’s average SCC;
  • It is useful as a culling tool;
  • It adds value to your herd through improved herd records;
  • It provides economic breeding index (EBI) reliability;
  • Pregnancy testing;
  • Increased TB compensation.

Ahead of 2022, time is starting to run out for farmers to build cell count data for their herds.

A lot of farms will be completing their final recording of year in the next few weeks. So for those that are yet to start, it is probably too late in the year to do so.

However, you can begin the planning process for next year by making contact with the company in your area that offers milk recording.

The data obtained from milk recording will benefit you and your farm in the future.