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Factors to consider on timing for when to pull the bull

Teagasc Dairy Specialist, George Ramsbottom, joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to provide context on the appropriate time to finishing the breeding season in order to facilitate compact calving next spring.

George quantifies the average 6 week calving rate being achieved nationally at 65%, owing the 10% increase in the last decade to a combination of improved management, genetics and reduced disease burden.

He acknowledges that despite gains being made, there is significant progress required to meet the target 6 week calving rate of 90%.

In spring calving herds where all cows are dried in December, later calvers have lower milk production (April 900 litres less, May 1,200 litres less and June 1,800 less) compared with a February calved cow producing 6,500 litres.

George recommends a 10 week breeding season to facilitate a 10-11 week calving spread, allowing farmers a 2-3 week break between calving 2022 and mating start date.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge