When does the year start for a dairy farmer? (Might be earlier than you think)

Most dairy farmers would be of the view that their year starts when the cow starts calving. However, according to Donagh Berry of Teagasc it starts much earlier than that.

He told dairy farmers attending the Teagasc Moorepark open day this year that their year actually starts in September.

Berry said to achieve the Teagasc target of 5.5 lactations per cow management at farm level is vital.

“EBI will not overcome bad management.

“Taking an extreme scenario. If you don’t put a straw into a cow at the right time in the cycle no matter what her EBI is she’s not going to go in calf,” he said.

Berry said nutrition and body condition score are a vitally important element to achieving the 5.5 lactations per cow target.

He said a dairy herds at mating should have an average body condition score of 2.9.

“Really you should have no cow less than 2.7 and no cows greater than 3.3. To achieve that you want to have cows calving at 3.3 body condition score.

Your year actually starts in September 

Berry said most dairy farmers think the year starts when the cows calf.

But, he said if you want to achieve a body condition score of 3.3 at calving you actually need to think about it on September 1.

“Which is only two months away,” he warned.

Berry said at this date farmers should be through their herd identifying the thin cows and potentially drying them off early and feeding them better supplements or betters grass silage to get that body condition back up.