Teagasc says New Generation dairy herd is on track

The cows in the elite group of the New Generation Herd at Teagasc Moorepark are currently giving the equivalent of an extra 8kg of milk solids per lactation, compared with their national average counterparts, according to Teagasc dairy breeding specialist Dr Frank Buckley

“In money terms this works out at an additional €35 per cow,” he said.

“At face value this may seem like quite a low figure. However, we are still talking about a very young herd that is not being maintained under what would be regarded as normal, commercial conditions.

“In the first instance, an established herd would have cows with a significantly higher number of completed lactations.”

Buckley confirmed that the elite grouping continues to perform at the level expected prior to the establishment of the new herd. The cows are currently averaging between 24L and 25L/day, split across three different feeding regimes.

“We will, most probably, have to buy in a number of additional heifers next year, simply to maintain our current EBI status in 2016. But after that, we will have a selection of our own ‘home bred’ replacements to select from.

“Full details on the performance achieved to date from the New Generation Herd will be made available at this week’s Moorepark Open Day.”

Buckley made these comments following the confirmation by ICBF that the New Generation Herd has the highest number of ‘Top 2,000’ EBI cows within its ranks – 46 in total.

Other herds that feature strongly include; David Lonergan, Ballyduff, Co. Waterford with 43 cows, Kieran Hearne, Carrick-On-Suir, Co. Waterford, Shane Maxwell, Lismore, Co. Waterford, and Pat Ryan, Cappagh, Co. Waterford with 39 cows each.

Springhaven Biddy 162 EX90 owned by Robert Troy Jnr. from Newtownshandrum, Co. Cork, is the top EBI cow in the country with an EBI of €382.40. She is a Holstein cow currently in her 10th lactation with an average calving interval of 367 days.

As well as having an EBI of €382 she also has an average lifetime production of 50,573kg milk, 4.20% Fat and 3.48% Protein. She was sired by Bagworth Zander Keet.

The top three cows are all from different dairy breeds. Second on the list is a Swedish Red cow owned by James Lynch, Cappagh, Co. Waterford with an EBI of €381.91. This cow is also on her 10th lactation. She was sired by Backgard. Third on the list is an 8th lactation Jersey cow with an EBI of €379 owned by James Murphy, Whitechurch, Co. Cork. This cow was sired by Mitchells Likabull SJ3

In total there are 157 cows with an EBI greater than €300. There are 786 cows genotyped which makes up about 40% of all cows listed. Of the 2,000 cows on the list there are 115 classified VG or EX.

The average EBI of the Top 2,000 cows is €270 with €72 coming from the Milk Sub-Index and €160 from the Fertility Sub-Index. They have an average parity of 5.2 lactations.

The list contains 10 different breeds including Ayrshire, Friesian, Holstein, Jersey, Montbelliarde, MRI/MRY, Norwegian Red, Rotbunte, Danish Red and Swedish Red.