Across the country, the number of herds milk recording has been steadily increasing year-on-year. To date, a total of 707,297 cows have been milk recorded – an increase of 14.7% from the year before.

This is a very positive result as the data collected through milk recording has a number of uses, including increasing the value of your herd due to better farm records.

Other benefits include:
  • Track your best and worst producers;
  • Aids in the management of your herd’s somatic cell count (SCC);
  • Adds value to any surplus stock;
  • Studies have shown that herds which milk record produce more kilograms of milk solids than those who don’t;
  • Having milk recording records increases the compensation available for animals tested positive to TB;
  • A pregnancy diagnosis is now possible through milk samples.

Although it is important to note that some of this increase is due to the greater number of dairy cows in the country. Despite this, the amount of herds’ milk recording is still nowhere near where it should be.

Figures from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) show that the total number of herds milk recording to date stands at just 6,533. Out of over 18,000 dairy herds in the country, this is a very small minority.

Out of total cow numbers, just under half the number of cows in the country are milk recorded. Where as in New Zealand in 2018, almost 70% of total cows were milk recorded.

Looking at the service providers to date, Munster Bovine has milk recorded 4,135 herds; Tipperary Co-op has recorded 134 herds; and Progressive Genetics has recorded 2,264 herds.

2018 vs. 2019 results

To date, 707,297 dairy cows in the country have been milk recorded.

The number of cows milk recorded by Munster Bovine increased from 368,507 in 2018 to 423,450 in 2019. This was an increase of 14.9%, slightly ahead of Progressive Genetics; however, some of this increase could have been influenced by the new Dairygold Supplier Sustainability bonus introduced this year.

For Progressive Genetics, 237,317 cows were milk recorded in 2018 and 269,583 were milk recorded in 2019; this was an increase of 13.6%.

Finally, Tipperary Co-op milk recorded 10,900 cows in 2018 and 14,264 cows in 2019 –  an increase of 30.9%.

Although milk recording can be expensive, this can far outweigh the benefits it brings.

As the use of selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) increases, and with farmers beginning to use milk recording results for selective culling and breeding, it is expected that the amount of herds milk recording will be much greater in the future.