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Deciding a date for ending the breeding season


George Ramsbottom, Teagasc Dairy Specialist has advice here for dairy farmers about deciding a date for ending the breeding season. He also includes steps for correcting a late calving pattern

Herds with a very spread out calving pattern generally can’t afford not to milk over the coming winter. Such patterns are higher cost and lower profit systems of milk production so the additional margin generated this winter may all be required by the farming family.

They can however take steps to correct the calving pattern that they have. This involves taking the following steps:

Steps to Correct the Calving Pattern 

  • Establish a date on which to end the breeding season this year. July 20th will confine calving to April next year. If you continue to breed until later in the year, you will have later calving cows and the cycle will start all over again.
  • Where calving pattern is spread out, it may be difficult to stop milking altogether for this winter so accept that this winter you will continue to milk the late calvers through the winter;
  • Bringing in extra home-reared or buy in suitable early spring calving replacement heifers for next year. They will produce as much milk in the coming year as a late calver and are certainly more likely to remain in the herd calving in early spring in future years

  • Next spring either cull this year’s late calvers from the parlour or, if accommodation and forage is available, finish them next spring.

In a previous Let's Talk Dairy Webinar below, host Stuart Childs was joined by George Ramsbottom, Teagasc Dairy Specialist to discuss the decisions influencing the end of the breeding season. George's presentation was followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

View webinar recording below

Let's Talk Dairy is a weekly webinar series held every Thursday morning, offering timely, relevant and practical advice to allow you make better management decisions on your dairy farm. Find out more here

The Teagasc Dairy Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to dairy farmers on Mondays here on Teagasc Daily