With milk prices on the floor this spring, farmers will be asking themselves how can they maximise their milk receipts.

According to Progressive Genetics, the daughters of the bull HMY are achieving an extra 2c/L or €180 per lactation more than the average at current milk prices.

It says that’s hardly surprising when they average over 3.6% protein.

At the time these cows were bred the top ten bulls available averaged +0.02% Protein, HMY is +0.17%.

Meanwhile, data from ICBF shows high EBI cows have 10% higher output per day than average cows.

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But what does this mean to farmers?

Seamus Hughes of Progressive Genetics has been meeting farmers at discussion groups constantly over the past few months. We asked him to comment on the issues in farmer’s minds.

“Obviously, maximising milk price is on everyone’s minds. Most farmers expect volatility but it is still a challenge when it happens. Setting yourself up for a better milk price helps in this regard”.

He explains that higher milk solids from high EBI cows is making a real difference out on farms.

“Farmers are seeing their actual milk price is 2-3 cent per litre higher than the base and even higher later in the year, better fertility is also driving this as cows are calving earlier and milking longer so you get more high-value late lactation milk”.

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So we asked Seamus what farmers are planning on doing this year?

He said almost every farmer he meets is sticking to high EBI A.I. bulls with a big emphasis on protein percentages and a high production sub-index.

This is the best way to maximise milk price and efficiency,” he said.

Progressive Genetics and Munster AI have a team of bulls this year with EBI of €330 and protein percentage of +0.20. progressive 3 progressive 4

Hughes says the expectation is these bulls will have an even better milk price than the HMY daughters and also higher kgs milk solids and better daughter fertility.

“The fact that just a few years ago the top bulls were +0.02% protein and we now have +0.20%, ten times better, is a reflection of the great progress made by the Irish cattle breeding program.

“Put simply dairy farmers now have the tools to breed a herd of cows that deliver substantially more than the base price, thereby insulating themselves long term from milk price volatility,” he said.

Also Read: Progressive Genetics Dairy Sires 2016