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Dairy Newsletter - April 2021


Get the latest information & advice from the Teagasc Dairy team in this month's newsletter. This month's newsletter focuses on dairy breeding. It includes: Breeding guidelines for spring 2021; Research Update - Heat detection; Cow selection; Breed maiden heifers to dairy AI; and Breeding Week recap.

View it here: Dairy Newsletter - April 2021 (PDF)

It includes:

  • Breeding guidelines for spring 2021
    • Know your herd’s strengths and weaknesses.
    • Select a team of high-EBI AI bulls when breeding your dairy herd replacements.
    • Target high-EBI females (typically maiden heifers, and first and second calvers) to breed your next generation of dairy herd replacements.
    • Use the Dairy Beef Index to select suitable beef AI sires for your dairy herd.
    • Use the ICBF HerdPlus Sire Advice Tool to help manage your breeding programme and simplify the process of sire selection. 
    • If using sexed semen, only use high-EBI sires and ensure that all sexed semen inseminations occur early in the breeding season. 
  • Research Update - Heat detection
    Stephen Moore of Teagasc recently conducted research into heat detection in dairy cows. Heat detection efficiency is an absolutely critical part of achieving a high submission rate.
  • Cow selection
    While much of the genetic gain is made by choosing suitable AI sires, selection of cows and replacement heifers to breed the next generation of replacements can also increase the rate of genetic gain, as shown for the Kildalton dairy herd.
  • Breed maiden heifers to dairy AI
    Breeding maiden dairy heifers can reduce the number of dairy breed bull calves. This is because the conception rate of maiden heifers is typically 10-15% higher than that of dairy cows.
  • Teagasc ICBF Breeding Week
    With calving and breeding becoming increasingly concentrated on dairy farms, Teagasc and the ICBF ran a breeding week from March 15-18. Catch up here www.teagasc.ie/breedingweek
  • Health and Safety - Spreading and spraying hazards
    Spraying and fertiliser and slurry spreading are high-risk jobs carried out in April.