Dairy Newsletter - March 2022
Get the latest information & advice from Teagasc Dairy in this month's newsletter. It includes: Sexed semen on the rise in 2022; Use a HerdPlus Sire Advice plan; Keep grass on track; CellCheck tips of the month; Profit monitor – costs rising and Health & Safety - Tractor/machine overturning dangers
View Dairy Newsletter - March 2022 here (PDF)
In this month's edition:
- Sexed semen on the rise in 2022
The opportunity to use sexed semen has never been better than during the 2022 breeding season. With the opening of the Sexing Technologies laboratory at Moorepark last autumn, the range and quality of bulls available this year has improved enormously. The benefit of sexed semen is obvious: practically all dairy breed heifer calves, without the hassle and hardship of arranging the sale of the less valuable dairy breed bull calves.
- Use a HerdPlus Sire Advice plan
Sire Advice from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is an excellent tool to help you maximise the genetic gain of your herd. You can pick a panel of AI bulls, and the programme will match the right bull to the right cow based on the genetics of both.
- Keep grass on track
The objective in March is to increase the proportion of the farm grazed, but not to get too far ahead of target. Grass supply has been very good on farms this spring with the average farm cover (AFC) about 900kg DM/ha on March 1 (PastureBase Ireland figures). Where slurry and nitrogen (N) fertiliser applications have taken place, the response in grass growth has been good. The aim must be to keep grass in the diet of dairy cows as much as possible during March.
- CellCheck tips of the month
Milk quality for the whole lactation depends on the success of somatic cell count (SCC) control in early lactation, as this is the highest-risk period for mastitis infection to occur.
- Profit monitor – costs rising
Recently Teagasc advisors helped over 1,200 dairy farmers to complete a profit monitor for their 2021 figures. This is a very important management practice because it allows farmers to gauge costs and performance against a group of high-performing peers.
- Health & Safety - Tractor/machine overturning dangers
With slurry and fertiliser spread in March, there is a lot of high-injury-risk movement. Farm deaths have occurred due to overturning of tractors, loaders and trailed equipment, including slurry tankers and cattle trailers/boxes.